The nominees for Most Improved Player for the Tennessee Titans 2012 Season are:
- DE Derrick Morgan
- OLB Akeem Ayers
- CB Jason McCourty
- OL Fernando Velasco
AND THE WINNER IS……
Derrick Morgan! Morgan has had a rough few seasons in the NFL, suffering a torn ACL at the beginning of his rookie season. He then spent his sophomore year struggling to recoup from that, as well as battling through other injuries. 2013 finally gave him the opportunity to show why the Tennessee Titans took him with the 16th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
While Morgan didn’t post any gaudy numbers, he showed improvement across the board and could always be found pressuring the pocket. According to PFF, was the 8th best player in the league at bringing pressure to the QB. He also boasted the 3rd best pass-rushing productivity of all 4-3 defensive ends.
Morgan posted 6.5 sacks, 59 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 1 recovered fumble in 2012, as well as 6 passes defended and five stuffs. All of those numbers were career highs and should be increased in 2013.
The video above illustrates just how much pressure was on Morgan headed into the 2012 season and shows how much progress he made through the season. It’s been a rough wait for Tennessee Titans fans as they’ve watched DE Jason Pierre-Paul blossom into a terror for the New York Giants. Being the pick just before Morgan kind of sets the bar for performance levels.
Ironically enough, JPP had an almost identical 2012 season to Morgan’s. Perhaps this is the beginning of a trend….?
Either way, Morgan definitely earned the Most Improved Player award.
Akeem Ayers came in a close second on the tally. Fernando Velasco wasn’t on the ballet (my fault) but did receive a few write-in votes. I’d say he truly deserves the runner-up trophy for stepping up as the starting center for the team and performing much better than anyone could have hoped for.
But to Morgan goes the glory. Let’s see more of that in 2013.
You can find me on Twitter @JustinLStewart