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Depending on which scouting service or draft expert you read, Derrick Morgan of Georgia Tech might be the best defensive end in the draft.
At the very least, he is in the discussion with Sergio Kindle (Texas), Carlos Dunlap (Florida) and Jason Pierre-Paul (South Florida).
If New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese is tempted by a defensive end in the first round of the April NFL Draft, Morgan might be the player out of that top tier of DEs who is the best fit for the Giants. With so many teams playing the 3-4 now, and Morgan reportedly not being a good fit for that scheme, he might even be available when the Giants select in the first round.
All of that said, Morgan is the subject of today's Daily NFL Draft Prospect Profile. Let's take a closer look at the 6-foot-4, 275-pounder.
Derrick Morgan Scouting Reports
From DraftAce, a site I have not referred to often enough while doing these profiles.
Prototypical size and strength. An elite pass rusher. Shows a nice array of pass rush moves. Has the lower body strength to use the bull rush on occassion. Very patient and disciplined; holds up well when the ball is run at him. A high energy player who consistently makes plays in pursuit. A team leader on and off the field.
Morgan is one of the more complete defensive end prospects to enter the draft in recent years. He wasn't a household name in college because he doesn't make many flashy highlight reel plays, but he is as consistent as they get.
From SB Nation's Mocking The Draft.
Top notch edge rusher that can win the battles time after time with the explosion that gives him the free outside shoulder. ... Relentless in pursuit of the ball carrier.
Played end on both sides, even saw time inside the guard. The quickness off the snap and consistent technique allows him to excel at any spot along the defensive line.
Morgan is by far the most versatile defensive end in this draft class, but the talent is right there to match it. He has the ideal frame, measurables, technique, and attitude for life in the trenches. The thing that needs to be looked in to the most however is the issue he has with balance. He spends way too much time on the ground, as he gets too reckless and loses his sense of footwork. He also struggled against some of his toughest competition while beating up on lineman that just might have a shot at the NFL. With that said, it is rare to come by such a talented prospect that understands the importance of technique and work ethic. If he is put in to a system that allows him to move around and exploit matchup problems, Morgan can turn in to an All-Pro very soon.
From NFL Draft 101.
Best all-around defensive end in the draft ... Good combination of power and athleticism ...Constantly making plays in the backfield. 19 TFL and 12.5 sacks in 2009 ... Ideal size and bulk to play DE in a 4-3.
Here is one more, from Walter Football.
Derrick Morgan's stock has really risen this season and I expect him to come off the board in the top 20 picks now. There is so much value for pass rushers in the 4-3 scheme in the league since they are so hard to come by, but Morgan's well-rounded skill set and potential will make him of value to NFL teams.
NFL Fans of 3-4 teams: don't get your hopes up. Morgan really struggles when dropping into coverage. He is most comfortable with his hand in the ground.
Why Morgan fits with the Giants
The guy has all the skills to be an elite defensive end against both the run and the pass. Sounds like a terrific bookend for Justin Tuck. Osi Umenyiora might or might not be back. Mathias Kiwanuka will be back, but he might never be the dominant force the Giants hoped for when they drafted him. Morgan might be what the Giants thought Kiwanuka would be, but has not yet become. Plus, the Giants love to move linemen around and create match-up problems for offensive lines. Morgan offers the flexibility to do that. And it always comes back to the Giants "you can never have too many pass rushers" philosophy.
Why the Giants should pass
If the Giants are convinced Osi Umenyiora will be back, in a good frame of mind, and productive, they already have a three-headed monster at defensive end with Umenyiora, Tuck and Kiwanuka. Snaps might be hard to come by for Morgan. They do, as we know, have other areas that need attention. Of course, maybe Osi won't be back.