In 2010, the Tennessee Titans had the 16th overall pick in the NFL draft. The Titans needed a pass-rusher who could immediately come in and make an impact on the defense. Everyone knew it was going to come down to Jason Pierre-Paul or Derrick Morgan. The New York Giants selected Pierre-Paul with the 15th overall pick and the Titans didn’t waste anytime selecting Morgan with their 16th overall pick.
Morgan was a freak at Georgia Tech. His long, tall build led him to 12.5 sacks. This made him the NCAA leader in sacks for the 2009 season. After the Titans selected Morgan, fans expected him to show those signs immediately on the field in his rookie season. Morgan was named the starting defensive end for the Titans in 2010. A Week 4 torn ACL ended his rookie season. A lot of people wrote him off after that as being a “bust.” Morgan has seemed to overcome what the critics have said about him.
In 2012, Morgan finished a full season on a depleting defensive unit with 59 tackles, 6.5 sacks, one forced fumble and six pass deflections. This preseason, Morgan has managed to stay healthy and shown early signs that he can get after the quarterback. His quickness, ability to stop the run and overall athleticism is nothing to ignore.
The 2013 Titans defense is poised to be much better than last season’s unit with free-agent additions to safety, defensive tackle,defensive end, linebacker, and of course Gregg Williams. Another breakout candidate is outside linebacker Akeem Ayers. Ayers will provide plenty of help for Morgan on the left side. The presence of Ayers will give Morgan space to work with and get after the quarterback.
Expect Morgan to put up double digit sacks and force the quarterback into making bad decisions. It took Mario Williams years to have a breakout season and now it’s Morgan’s time to shine. It’s a close battle on who will win the Tennessee Titans defensive player of the year award because Ayers looks like the favorite.
My money is on Derrick Morgan.
All Statistics were sourced from ESPN.COM