Defense Chases

NC State defenders Larrell Murchison, James Smith-Williams and Stephen Griffin, chase down Syracuse quarterback Tommy DeVito, leading to an incomplete pass. NC State hosted the Syracuse Orange on Thursday, October 10, 2019. NC State won the game 16-10. DeVito was sacked 8 times during the game, losing 52 yards.

For the fifth consecutive year, the NC State football team had a player drafted into the NFL. However, Wolfpack fans had to wait until day three to hear the names called. With only two players selected in the draft, this is the lowest number of players selected from NC State since 2014. 

Both players selected came from the defensive line. Selected first was defensive tackle Larrell Murchison in the fifth round by the Tennessee Titans, followed by defensive end James Smith-Williams, in the seventh round by Washington. 

DT Larrell Murchison to Tennessee (Fifth round, pick No. 174) 

Murchison, who transferred from Louisburg College to NC State, will be joining the AFC runner-ups from last season. Being in the AFC South, Murchison will be presented the task of slowing down star quarterbacks Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans twice a year, as well as former NC State quarterback Phillip Rivers with the Indianapolis Colts. Last season, the Titans defense allowed 359.5 yards per game, good enough for 21st in the league. 

In 2019, Murchison led the Wolfpack with 12 tackles for loss and seven sacks, including 3.5 sacks in the game against Florida State. His production led to second-team All-ACC Honors. Pro scout’s loved the impact that Murchison has had in his college career in stopping the run while also working edge to edge in the pocket with his stutter-rush. Murchison will have the opportunity to start right away if he can prove he belongs there at training camp. 

James Smith-Williams to Washington (Seventh round, pick No. 229)

Smith-Williams will be joining former NC State teammate Kelvin Harmon in Washington, coached under first-year head coach Ron Rivera, who was fired by the Panthers after coaching in Charlotte for nine years. A year ago, the Washington defense was mediocre, allowing 27.2 points a game, good for 27th in the league. 

Smith-Williams 2019 season was shortened due to a lower-body injury, only playing in seven games and recording 20 tackles. He showed his true NFL potential in 2018, where he had 37 tackles, 9.5 for loss and six sacks. Smith-Williams made some noise at the NFL draft combine, where he showcased his speed with a 4.6-second 40-yard-dash time. This was the best time for all defensive ends at the combine. How the Raleigh native can transition his speed to the defensive line will be pivotal in whether or not he can be successful in the NFL. 

Staff Writer

I’m Will Thornhill, a staff writer for the Technician’s sports department since March of 2019. I am in the class of 2022 at NC State, with a double-major in Sport Management and Communication Media.