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NFL Draft Build Up - #1 Morgan Burnett, FS

We wrote some primers for Morgan Burnett, Demaryius Thomas, Jonathan Dwyer, and Derrick Morgan earlier in the year. Here are some quick links: Burnett, Thomas, Morgan, Dwyer. I was contacted later on by Phinsider Matty I to write more in depth previews for possible Dolphin Draft Picks. In build up to the Draft, I'm posting the player previews sent to Phinsider that may or may not have made the cut because of changes in the Dolphins' needs pre-Draft (ala signing of Brandon Marshall).

The preview of Morgan Burnett was featured on Phinsider April 9th. Here is the entirety of the preview:

M. Burnett - Georgia Tech DB #1
Unlike his predecessors at Tech (Ravens safety Dawan Landry and Giants safety James Butler), Morgan Burnett's game is speed. He is lightning quick and breaks on passes like it's nobody's business. The Tech safety racked up 14 interceptions over his three year career at Tech because he had enough speed to react to poorly thrown footballs and the hands to snab the errant throws.

A common knock on Morgan Burnett was that he was a liability in the running game. This is hogwash. Burnett's plight in 2009 was a bad defensive line and an injury plagued linebacker corps. By the end of the season, teams could run all day on the Georgia Tech front seven. Morgan Burnett never quit, however. He tallied 58 tackles in run support out of his 86 total tackles. In fact, Burnett led all defensive players for Tech in total tackles during his three years at Tech with 235 tackles (just short of 6 tackles per game). He never backed down from an opposing running back, tight end or wide receiver.

Burnett's greatest skills came in pass coverage as he made almost 30 tackles on pass plays in 2009 and defensed over 12 passes. As one of 22 defensive players to see significant playing time in 2009, Burnett was involved in over 10.1% of all offensive passing plays. Burnett was truly a force in the secondary as he played primarily at safety could also play nickel against 3 and 4 wide receiver sets.

Teams fearing that Burnett isn't physical can rest assured that he wasn't afraid to lay the wood in 2009.

And finally, Burnett's abilities will probably be limited to special teams initially in the League. He played on Tech's kick coverage units as a junior. He tallied several tackles on coverage and even blocked a field goal attempt by Duke.