We're starting a new six part series on Big Cat Country sponsored by Sprint, bringing you the first wireless 4G network. The series is called "Sprint Game Changers" and will revolve around things the Jacksonville Jaguars have done during the off season that will have a significant impact on next season. Big Cat Country has been sponsored by Sprint in the past and we are excited to have them again.
This edition's game changer is a new Jacksonville Jaguars, like most, linebacker Kirk Morrison.
When the Jacksonville Jaguars traded defensive end/outside linebacker Quentin Groves to the Oakland Raiders, I quipped with a friend I was with when it occurred that "Maybe they fleeced Oakland and got Morrison, who I've heard they're peddling around the league." I said it entirely in jest, thinking the Jaguars eventually would get Clint Ingram under contract and roll with the same three linebackers.
Low and behold, on the third day of the draft the Jacksonville Jaguars did indeed fleece the Raiders. The Jaguars sent a fourth round pick to Oakland in exchange for a fifth round pick and linebacker Kirk Morrison, who became ultra-expendable once the Raiders selected Rolando McClain 8th overall. So in essence, the Jacksonville Jaguars traded a 4th round pick and Quentin Groves (whom they were likely to release) for two 5th round picks and Kirk Morrison (whom the Raiders would likely release).
Not too shabby.
"It's a new beginning for me,'' Morrison said. "I almost feel like I got drafted all over again.''
Ironically Morrison is joining a team that hit the pseudo-reset button last season. The Jaguars are in the process of starting all over again, so "drafting" a new middle linebacker made a lot of sense. Acquiring Morrison allows do-it-all and routinely underrated linebacker Daryl Smith to move back to the outside.
Since the loss of Mike Peterson to free agency, the Jaguars have been looking for that 100+ tackle force in the middle of the field. Daryl Smith filled that role nicely, but taking him from his weakside linebacker position hurt the linebacking corps overall. Adding Morrison adds a consistent force up the middle of the field for the Jaguars.
Kirk Morrison hasn't been on a winning football team since high school. At San Diego State, which now has 4 Jaguar players on it's roster, Morrison didn't have a winning season. In his five seasons with the Oakland Raiders, Morrison wasn't part of a single winning season. You can tell he's hungry for that, and that's what the Jacksonville Jaguars need in the middle of the field.
"A hard-nose linebacker — downhill, gritty and tough. They have been a running football team and make adequate plays in the passing game, but hard-nosed defense in the run, attacking and blitzing. I definitely want to be a part of that," Morrison said when asked to describe himself.
Entering his sixth season in the NFL, Kirk Morrison has notched at least 116 tackles in each of his past five NFL seasons. As mentioned previously, the Jaguars have missed that consistent stable force in the middle of their linebacking corps, and Morrison should add just that.
Morrison has brought over his "Hollywood" personality to the Jaguars as well, already getting in touch with the fans on Twitter and being a very outspoken face, much like new teammate Maurice Jones-Drew. You can follow Kirk Morrison on Twitter at @kirkmorrison55.