Saturday, 9 January 2010

Derrick Morgan in the draft lab

I've continuously referred to the tremendous 'Draft Lab' series from K.C. Joyner, who looks at a different prospect every week. Derrick Morgan (DE, Georgia Tech) gets the treatment this time round and it's an interesting read. You'll need to be an ESPN insider account to get the entire piece, but I'd recommend signing up for this weekly series alone. Here's some highlights:

"After one game of the tape review of Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan I had thoughts of grading him above the phenom Ndamukong Suh. That dominant game was the Sept. 10 contest against the Clemson Tigers. Morgan had seven splash plays (defined as when a defender negatively impacts a passing play) in a mere 25 pocket pass rush attempts and very nearly had two others."

"Those are Suh-like numbers. Equally impressive was the wide variety of pass rush moves he used to get them. He alternated outside speed rushes with inside rip moves, sprinkled in a measure of bull and spin moves and used the wrist club and shoulder club with equal effectiveness. The mixing of moves at this level is so rare that I can think of only two NFL pass-rushers whose mastery would be equal to this (Jared Allen and Patrick Kerney)."

"Morgan also had a dominant showing against the run in that contest. Clemson knew better than to try to test him very often, so the Tigers directed only five running plays his way. Morgan won the point of attack (POA) block on four of those runs and the Tigers gained only five total yards."

"Ndamukong Suh is probably the best collegiate defensive line prospect to come along in a generation -- and, for a time, Morgan's tape review had him keeping up with Suh. The two areas of concern are relatively minor in comparison with Morgan's upside, so he easily gets a TFS seal of approval." - K.C. Joyner, ESPN

The areas of concern that Joyner refers to are his endurance (Morgan has looked visibly exhausted late in several games this year that I've witnessed personally) and the number of yards given up by Georgia Tech when Morgan didn't win his battle at the point of attack. The tiredness needs to be checked out, but it's not really surprising considering his relentless approach and he's in on nearly all of the team's defensive snaps. The second negative is perhaps testament to Morgan's importance to his team.

I have Morgan going third overall in my most recent mock draft. Even in the wake of the revelation Pete Carroll will be Seattle's new head honcho, I still believe Morgan is a very real possibility with the sixth overall pick.


kearly said...

Nice read.

If Seattle drafted Morgan, he'd be competing with Jackson for the LDE job, a battle Jackson (a USC alum) would almost certainly lose. If Carroll drafted Morgan knowing it would most likely cost one of his former USC players a starting job, I'd be very impressed.

Rob Staton said...

He could leave Morgan as a pure edge rush if he so wished, finding ways to get Tapp and Jackson into space to max out their effect in the pass rush. The Seahawks need to make additions to their defensive line, it's worth monitoring Derrick Morgan and Everson Griffen in round one. Having said that, I expect Carroll will use his 'insider' status at USC as a huge positive rather than a negative. He won't draft guys from the school deliberately, he'll know which ones have the makings of a pro.

jon said...

Hello Rob,

First of all, thank you for the great work. I visit this site on a daily basis. I know you rate Derrick Morgan highly - how do you think he compares to Orakpo as a prospect? Though we have other needs, I am wondering if Morgan warrants our 1st pick. If he can make an Orakpo-type impact, Morgan seems like a better option than any OT. Please let me know your thoughts.

ivotuk said...

I absolutely love KC Joyner's draft work and look forward to every Tuesday. He makes Kiper and McShay look like amateurs with his techniques for reviewing draft prospects and his ability to transfer his analysis in to a very readable online format.

His evaluations are so easy to read and understand and they follow such a common sense format that I have complete confidence in what he says and what I am reading.

The cool thing is that I've studied a couple of the players and found that I have stumbled upon the same conclusions that he has.

I'm no expert but some aspects of a players game are obvious and Joyner points them out with absolute confidence.

Like Rob I would highly recommend Insider if for nothing more than access to KC Joyner's work.

Rob Staton said...

Hi Jon - thanks for the kind words. I'll be the first to admit I was wrong about Orakpo, at least in his rookie year. In scouting, I was concerned about his ability to provide an edge rush. Everything was set, move, inside. Considering he'd bulked up a lot (work out warrior, he was positively skinny when he joined Texas) I thought he'd likely get over powered and that he'd be best playing in space as a 3-4 OLB. I've seen little of Washington this year, but the stats suggest he certainly was getting to the QB in a 4-3 scheme as a base end. We'll see if he can keep it up over the years, I still think he's almost 'maxed out' his body to get the size he is. He might have a tremendous initial impact then fade off.

Morgan appears to be a more natural pass rusher, his size is less worked on and more natural. He's a fluid edge rusher, I've seen him dominate games with speed and strength, get in the QB's face consistently and dominate.

However, you have to take into account his relative inexperience as an underclassmen, he clearly has an issue late in games with endurance (nearly always v. tired). Defensive ends aren't known to have the greatest immediate impact, Orakpo's was a surprise.

Having said that - I think you nearly have to take Morgan if he's there. The Seahawks badly need a pass rush, Morgan has the skills to be a natural edge rusher in the NFL. But Pete Carroll is imminent in Seattle, so keep an eye on Everson Griffen too in round one. Either way, I think they have to try and address the defensive line with one of those three picks in the 40's.

Anonymous said...

Rob, I too love Joyner's Draft Lab and read them all with great anticipation. While I was dissapointed in Morgan's performance in the Orange Bowl, it was only one game and may speak more to how well Bulaga and Calloway played than how poorly Morgan did. On the year there have been games when he's been Suh-like and virtually unstoppable. It wouldn't surprise me if he goes before McCoy. If he or McCoy fall to us, I think we have to take them. While Carroll may know USC players better, that can be a two-edged sword and I'm sure his allegiance to his old players will not extend to preferential treatment in the draft. Griffen is not Morgan, and if Morgan falls to us, Griffen won't even be an option.

Karl said...

I was curious if you watched the Iowa-Georgia Tech game in the Orange Bowl. Morgan went up against the highly rated Bulaga and freshman Reiff (who has the makings of a high draft pick if keeps improving) and was taken out of the game. Fatigue should not have been a problem since he had weeks to prepare/condition. He made 2 plays that I can remember for the game but otherwise was run over multiple times. Going up against more talented tackles in the NFL may he not be as effective? Even the TE Moeaki had his way with Morgan on a few plays. I would like to see the Seahawks move in a different direction with the pick (OT, DT, QB) or take the best available player with one pick and consider trading down with the other. Thoughts? said...

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