D. Morgan - Georgia Tech DE #91
There has been a lot of hype behind Derrick Morgan of Coatesville, Pennsylvania because of his tangibles. The reasons Morgan separates himself from other defensive ends in the Draft, which are consistently forgotten in Draft talk, are Morgan's tenacity and intelligence.
As fans of Tech alum and Bengal rush specialist, Michael Johnson, we've seen a defensive end's stock drop during the film review leading up to the Draft. The biggest knock on MJ was lack of intensity on every play. This is certainly not the case with Morgan. Good clips here.
Like an offense that leads with a fullback, Derrick was the point at which Georgia Tech's defense surged. He consumed multiple linemen, runningbacks, and tight ends on every play because he played with power and purpose on every down. And because he consistently got into the backfield, he disrupted running lanes or hurried the passer. Alongside Morgan's 12.5 sacks in 2009, thirty eight of his fifty five tackles were against opposing running backs at or near the LOS.
Morgan's intelligence and collected nature gave him an edge against opposing lines as well. In 27 starts, Morgan's only penalty was a single offsides. Assuming Morgan played in at least 50% of Georgia Tech's defensive snaps from 2008-2010, that's only 5 yards of penalties in roughly 800 plays of football. In his senior year alone Morgan accounted for 102 yards of negative offense (in TFL's and sacks) more than making up for 5 yards in penalties.
Morgan is big enough to play at the professional level and has the work ethic and intelligence to succeed at the next level. Any team would benefit from his presence and charisma in the locker room.
Edit: Check out Phinsider, the SBN home of the Miami Dolphins. I wrote this piece originally for their blog.