Commentary

Evaluating Derrick Morgan's NFL stock

There are comparisons to Ndamukong Suh here, but also two key drawbacks

Updated: January 5, 2010, 1:30 PM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Getty ImagesDerrick Morgan has been a force this year for an offensively inclined Yellow Jackets squad.

Every Tuesday, K.C. Joyner writes up a "Draft Lab" on a 2010 NFL draft entrant -- this week looking at Derrick Morgan of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, participants in tonight's Orange Bowl. For a full archive of K.C.'s thoughts on various prospects, please click here.

One of the many memorable stories told in Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman's classic book, "The New Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football," detailed the brief NFL career of collegiate high hurdles champion Harvey Nairn. Then-New York Jets coach Weeb Ewbank was constantly searching for fast players; when Nairn sprinted past All-Pro cornerback Lem Barney in a preseason game, Ewbank was so impressed with Nairn's potential that he kept the speedster around for three years despite the fact that he never caught a pass in a game.

The cautionary moral of the Nairn tale is that it pays to not get too caught up on a single performance when grading a player. I bring this up because after one game of the tape review of Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan (No. 5 on Scouts Inc.'s top 32 list and No. 8 on Mel Kiper's latest Big Board), I had thoughts of grading him above the phenom Ndamukong Suh.

That dominant game was the Sept. 10 contest against the Clemson Tigers. Morgan had seven splash plays (defined as when a defender negatively impacts a passing play) in a mere 25 pocket pass rush attempts and very nearly had two others.


OK, so what is K.C. saying about Dr. Z's book and that analogy? What are the limitations he found with Derrick Morgan? How far behind a guy like Suh or Gerald McCoy is Morgan, really? For all these answers and more, you must be an ESPN Insider.