Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Derrick Morgan catching the eye

I've rated Derrick Morgan as one of the top prospects for 2010 since week two. A relentless pass rusher, the Georgia Tech defensive lineman is a great edge rusher who's sometimes unblockable. A prototype 4-3 end, I fully expect him to go in the top ten next year and he'll battle with Carlos Dunlap (Florida) to be the first player at his position to be drafted. In a stellar class on the defensive line, Morgan is right up there.

Having said that, he'd been flying a little under the radar over the last few weeks. I'd not seen anyone put him as high as I did in my first 2010 mock draft and I even saw people putting Greg Hardy ahead of him in some projections (that simply will not happen). It seems people are starting to realise just how good Morgan can be.

Kevin Wiedl, ESPN's Draft Blog
"Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan turned in an impressive performance in the Yellow Jackets' 30-27, overtime victory over Wake Forest, showing why many scouts rank the junior as a first-round lock.

Morgan did a great job anchoring and disrupting against the run, including a second-and-4 play on the first possession of overtime on which he blew up a lead block from Demon Deacons FB Mike Rinfrette, forced Josh Adams to chance direction and allowed his teammates to clean up the play for a 4-yard loss.

Morgan also victimized Rinfretti earlier in the game as a pass rusher, running through him on a third-down play late in the fourth quarter with the score tied at 24. Wake was driving in Georgia Tech territory for the potential game-winning score, but Morgan came off the edge and exploded through Rinfretti before getting to QB Riley Skinner, forcing a punt and keeping Tech alive.

Both plays showed the explosiveness Morgan has in his hips. He overwhelmed the 6-foot-3, 260-pound Rinfretti and made game-changing plays when his team needed them most. Morgan has the frame (6-4, 268) and power to be an effective 4-3 end, and though we haven't seen much of him dropping into coverage we don't doubt the he could do so as a 3-4 rush end.

Morgan has all the tools NFL teams look for and is shooting up draft boards. Given how well he is playing and that it's hard to see him getting out of the first round, chances are Morgan is headed to the next level after this season."


Michael said...

I'll believe it if he holds up against Georgia. I just don't trust this guy. Wake Forest is not known for an overpowering line. They play the spread and use counters to offset their lack of strength and size.

But I'm no expert for sure. I think he is a late first round pick. He does not have the size or strength to play 2-gap or the 5-tech. That limits him to 4-3 teams, and he will be part of a glut of decent 4-3 ends.

Rob Staton said...

That's an interesting assesment, Michael. The times I've seen him this year (not against WF) he's been explosive as a pass rusher, relentless effort and I thought his strength was just as impressive. I'd rank him as the top 4-3 end for 2010 (if he declares as expected) and he's got 11 sacks already this year.

The only downside I noticed was that he gets tired in the 4th quarter. He still puts in the effort, but he'll look like he's about to pass out. I've put this down to the fact he's in on every single defensive snap and because of the GT triple option offense system the defense can sometimes be on the field a lot longer than preferable. I'd want to know more about his stamina, but I don't think it's anything that couldn't be solved by better rotation (something the Seahawks use a lot).

Michael said...

I would trust your analysis much more than mine. I am limited to the Wake Forest tape. He looked great, but the quality of the opponent makes me leery.

While many are not interested in Carlos Dunlap, I'd have to say that Seattle would have been wise to pick up his Sr. "lazy" DE in Calais Campbell.

That said, I would not be against a Morgan draft. I just feel it is time to "reach" for offense. If it is OK to overspend for guys like Tatupu/Carlson, let us do that for someone in the mold of Spiller, Brown, Fox.

Great input, Rob. I very much enjoy your work.

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