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NFL hopeful Kyle Murphy helped pave the way for Christian McCaffrey's record-breaking season

Christian McCaffrey broke the record for all-purpose yards behind an offensive line featuring Kyle Murphy at left tackle.

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Christian McCaffrey certainly had a case for the Heisman Trophy in 2015, finishing his sophomore season at Stanford with 3,864 all-purpose yards, including 368 in a dominant win over Iowa in the Rose Bowl. But when he returns for another go as a junior, McCaffrey will have to produce without Kyle Murphy and Joshua Garnett -- two of the top offensive linemen in the 2016 NFL Draft -- paving the way on the left side of the Cardinal offensive line.

"We all complemented each other," Murphy said. "I don't want to sound selfish or arrogant, but without us on the left side I think Christian would've had a hard time being a Heisman finalist and breaking the record, but without him back there making highlight plays it would've been more difficult for us to get the [publicity] that we did and for guys like [Kevin] Hogan and [Austin] Hooper to kind of get the notoriety that they did."

Both Murphy and Garnett earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2015 and helped Stanford field one of the nation's most successful offenses. The team finished with 37.8 points per game -- 18th-most in the nation -- despite running the ball 43.6 times per game and averaging just 22.7 pass attempts.

Stanford gave Murphy a chance to shed "hot-shot" 5-star status and be a pro-style road grader

The grinding rush attack of Stanford was part of the reason Murphy, a five-star recruit in 2012, chose the Pac-12 team over offers from just about every top college football program in the nation.

"The academic stuff is well-documented, but the program was on the rise and I saw how they were developing lesser recruited players who weren't as heralded or as talented guys, so I figured if people thought I was some hot-shot guy, maybe I could come in here and they can show me some things I don't do as well," Murphy said.

"Obviously, with that pro-style system and me kind of having those dreams and aspirations of being an NFL offensive line, that was something that was very appealing as well."

Murphy was the No. 11 recruit in the nation in 2012, a class that was littered with eventual NFL talent:

"He's a good run blocker but I don't know if he's strong enough to play on the right side or quick enough to play left." -- AFC general manager to NFL.com.

At 6'6, 305 pounds, Murphy fits the bill of an NFL offensive tackle, but isn't expected to go early in the 2016 NFL Draft. Much of that has to do with criticisms of his athleticism and strength, although Pro Football Focus says no offensive tackle has a higher floor than the technically sound lineman, who was consistently near the top of the nation's "pass blocking efficiency" ranking.

But in a league with freakishly athletic pass rushers, it's similarly athletic offensive tackles that get drafted early. Laremy Tunsil of Ole Miss is considered the best of the draft class at 6'5, 310 pounds and impressed with a 111-inch broad jump and 34 bench press reps at his pro day. Murphy managed just 23 bench press reps, despite shorter arms than Tunsil, and didn't get the chance to prove doubters wrong after tweaking his hamstring at the NFL Combine.

"I'm just trying to continue to develop my body and get stronger, get leaner and keep this weight until I figure out what team I'm going to and where I fit in their scheme," Murphy said. "Technically, [I'm just working on] a few things. Pad level in the run game and pass game, just working on my punch a little bit in pass [protection] and just cleaning up a few things with my feet, just trying to make it as perfect as possible, because the next level is something else."

Murphy isn't taking the NFL for granted after watching it chew up and spit out his brother

Murphy saw the unforgiving nature of the NFL when his brother, Kevin Murphy, lasted just two years in the league. After collecting two All-Ivy nods at Harvard, Murphy earned a spot with the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2012, but spent two years on the practice squad and never appeared in a regular season game. He was cut in 2014.

"He didn't have the career had he hoped for or wanted, but what he stressed was how big of a deal it is that doing your job is all you're there for," Murphy said. "You can never really prepare enough or do enough work because you're a professional football player at that point -- there really isn't anything else you have to worry about. Putting 12 hours a day into it if you have to, especially during the season, in order to get your job done; it might be what you have to do."

Murphy said he has had pre-draft workouts with the Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans, and was one of the participants at the San Francisco 49ers' local prospects day. Still, he's trying to go into the draft with an open mind and zero expectations.

"I've heard too many stories where teams have showed zero interest and ended up picking a guy, or teams that were all over you but ended up passing," Murphy said. "Day 2 would be awesome, but with all that stuff it's kind of out of your control ... you never really know where teams value you. I'm not going to be one who hopes I go in one round because once you start doing that then you sets you up for greater disappointment."

Pro Football Focus grades Murphy as a third-round pick and SB Nation's Dan Kadar ranks Murphy as the No. 11 offensive tackle in the draft class.