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NFL Draft: Sooners LB Kenneth Murray picked No. 23 overall by the Los Angeles Chargers

When Kenneth Murray was a senior in high school, he wrote down a set of short- and long-term goals on a piece of paper.

“Get drafted first round 2020 draft, junior year of college,” Murray wrote then.

Thursday night, Murray accomplished that goal, being picked No. 23 overall by the Los Angeles Chargers in the NFL Draft.

He became the first Sooners defensive player to be drafted in the first round since Gerald McCoy was taken No. 3 overall in the 2010 draft.

"Kenneth has been a great leader for us, a starter from day one," Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said in a statement. "He was one of the most influential and active players we've every had in terms of off-the-field activities and has just been a great all-around Sooner. He's a tremendous example of the progress of 'Speed D' and we look forward to him having a great career and becoming an instant-impact player with the Chargers."

Murray is the first OU linebacker picked in the first round since Brian Bosworth was taken No. 1 overall in the 1987 supplemental draft. The last Sooners linebacker to go in the first round of the regular draft was Jackie Shipp, who was taken No. 14 overall in 1984.  

The Chargers traded up to take Murray, trading a second- and third-round pick to the New England Patriots to make the selection.

Last week, ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. told The Oklahoman that he didn't expect Murray to fall lower than the No. 24 pick by the New Orleans Saints. 

Murray was the second Sooners player picked in the first round Thursday, following wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who was taken No. 17 overall by the Dallas Cowboys.

Murray had 325 tackles in his three seasons with the Sooners, tied with Lee Roy Selmon for 11th-best overall in school history.

He had 36.5 tackles for loss, including 17 in 2019.

Murray led OU in tackles each of his final two seasons in Norman.

Murray is the first Sooners player taken by the Chargers in the first round since running back Joe Washington in 1976.


Related Photos
Kenneth Murray, former OU linebacker, was picked No. 23 overall by the Los Angeles Chargers in Thursday's NFL Draft. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

Kenneth Murray, former OU linebacker, was picked No. 23 overall by the Los Angeles Chargers in Thursday's NFL Draft. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-418ee52a2a723254431434517b56d102.jpg" alt="Photo - Kenneth Murray, former OU linebacker, was picked No. 23 overall by the Los Angeles Chargers in Thursday's NFL Draft. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title="Kenneth Murray, former OU linebacker, was picked No. 23 overall by the Los Angeles Chargers in Thursday's NFL Draft. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Kenneth Murray, former OU linebacker, was picked No. 23 overall by the Los Angeles Chargers in Thursday's NFL Draft. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Ryan Aber

Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The... Read more ›

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