This scouting report is brought to your by our sponsor, Comcast.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team who needs help all over the defensive side of the football, including in the secondary. Georgia Teach safety Morgan Burnett fits the bill of what Jacksonville is typically looking for on the defensive side of the football. While it might be tough for Jacksonville to get a player like Burnett considering he is likely a 2nd round draft pick, but he is definitely a player on the Jaguars' radar.
Morgan Burnett is among what many consider the "new breed" of NFL safeties. At Georgia Tech he played the "rover" position which many NCAA teams have gone two in lieu of the standard free and strong designation. Rovers are a kind of combination linebacker/safety position in the middle of the football field. The rover often plays in zone coverage and excels at coming up to support the run when necessary.
Be that as it may, Morgan isn't just a stuff the run type of safety. He does both, support the run and play coverage. He was a ball hawk on the Rambling Wreck and often was a part of game changing plays on the defensive side of the ball. Burnett has the size of what most would consider a strong safety, but he possess the athleticism to play the free safety position or even nickel back. He's much like Jacksonville's current safety Gerald Alexander, who can flip flop between safety positions. This type of versatility is becoming more and more important in the NFL as the offensive game evolves to be more passing oriented. If this draft didn't have the physical freak that is Taylor Mays and a load of talented cornerbacks, it's likely Burnett would be a first round pick.
As I mentioned before it's likely Burnett is a 2nd round pick, a pick in which the Jaguars do not have, he is a viable option if the Jaguars trade back in the 2nd round and look for a defensive back. Safety is certainly a position of concern and an area that could be upgraded. It should be also noted that Burnett was voted as a team captain, something that Jaguars general manager Gene Smith seems to look for in players.
|At A Glance|
Position 1: SS
Position 2: FS
|Class: Junior||Age: 21|
|Projected Round: 2nd-3rd||
2008 All American 1st Team
2008 All-ACC 1st Team
2007 ACC All Freshman Team
Ask the Experts
Has fluid hips that he can flip without taking a misstep. Finishing his career with 14 interceptions, Burnett clearly has excellent ball skills.He can quickly decipher run and pass plays and can look into the quarterback’s eyes without it hurting him. Possesses very good instincts in zone coverage. Has played on occasion at cornerback. Burnett’s size is optimal for the safety position. He’s big enough to take on running backs and hold up against tight ends. He’s athletic enough to play free safety and cover a lot of field. But he’s also strong enough to handle the strong side.
Is inconsistent in his tackling technique. Will properly wrap up on some occasions but tends to shoulder tackle. This was much more evident in Burnett’s junior season than in his sophomore year. Burnett’s speed is good but not elite. He wasn’t quite as good as a junior but still decided to enter the draft. He’s just a level below Eric Berry and Earl Thomas, but perhaps just as good as Taylor Mays. Will take poor angles when he comes down to the line of scrimmage to get after a running back. Has to rely on his athleticism too often to quickly redirect himself and get into the play.
Scott Wright of Draftcountdown.com:
Terrific height and bulk --- Solid athlete --- Reads and reacts quickly and closes in a hurry --- Excellent hands and ball skills --- Physical --- A reliable tackler with some pop --- Aggressive --- Does a fantastic job in run support --- Good Strength --- Hard Worker --- Leader --- Productive.
A bit stiff and hips aren't real fluid --- Not overly fast or explosive --- Will gamble and take chances --- Doesn't change directions well --- Trouble matching up in man coverage -- Questionable instincts and awareness.