Is Derrick Morgan a ‘freak’? I sure hope so! When looking at the first player chosen by the Tennessee Titans with the 16th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan, it’s hard not to compare him to the player they selected with the 16th pick in the 1999 draft, defensive end Jevon Kearse.
Kearse played three years at the University of Florida. In that time he totaled 145 total tackles, 34.5 tackles for loss, 16.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 1 interception, and 1 fumble recovery. He was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year in his junior year and was also an AP All-American.
Morgan played three years at Georgia Tech University. In that time he totaled 112 tackles, 18 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. He was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year in his junior year and was also an AP All-American.
It’s very difficult to compare players from different decades and different conferences. All we know so far is that they were both fantastic college players but it’s interesting to look at the statistics. It’s also interesting to note they were both named the best defensive player in their respective conferences before both left school after their junior years.
Kearse came to the NFL Pre-draft combine weighing 262 pounds. He ran a 4.58 40-yard dash, a 4.24 second 20-yard shuttle, and had a vertical leap of 37 inches.
Morgan came to the NFL Pre-draft combine weighing 267 pounds. He ran a 4.72 40-yard dash, a 4.43 second 20-yard shuttle, and had a vertical leap of 34 inches.
Upon first glance at these numbers it would appear that perhaps Morgan is not as freakish right now as Kearse was right before he got drafted. On paper Morgan is a little heavier, a little slower, and and can’t jump as high. Of course, we are comparing him to one of the most athletic defensive players in NFL history! I don’t think that any individual statistic on its own means a whole lot but looking at a couple of different NFL Combine categories is interesting.
Okay okay okay. So at this point in time Derrick Morgan might not be Jevon Kearse. Who cares! Kearse is one of the best defensive ends of all-time. We don’t need Morgan to be one of the best to ever play the position (although I wouldn’t hate it if that happened), we just need him to be GOOD. If he were able to be good this year then even better. The truth is, Morgan is going to be a very good addition to the Titans defense. He is really tough and really athletic, things that I thought of myself as being until my high school defensive coordinator informed me with startling conviction that neither was in fact true.
JEVON KEARSE UPDATE
For any of you wondering what Jevon Kearse is up to these days I thought I would try and find out for you. Let’s take a look at the photo below from Super Bowl weekend……well……huh……..how can I spin this?