Packers First Round Pick Jordan Morgan May Need Time Before He’s Ready to Start

Most NFL rookies need time to adjust to the pro game. Suddenly, you’re playing against the best players in the world, and they are bigger, stronger and faster than nearly every player at even the best colleges. Some NFL rookies are able to make the jump with little or no difficulty, some require time to adjust, while others never fully succeed in the NFL.

In recent years, the Packers have seen first round picks fit different molds. Rashan Gary was brought along gradually and developed into a very good pass rusher by year three.

Eric Stokes started almost immediately as a rookie and played well. His play fell off in his second year before injuries disrupted his progress, but his initial adjustment to the NFL was very quick.

Linebacker Quay Walker was in between. He started right away but has yet to become more than a serviceable starter. He is only entering his third NFL season and still could develop into a better player in the future.

Where will this year’s first-round pick Jordan Morgan fit into this equation? While it’s still early in the process, the early indications are that Morgan will need some time before he’s ready to take on a starting role in the NFL.

One contributing factor will be the learning curve. The Packers coaching staff gave Morgan reps at four different positions during OTAs and minicamp, left and right tackle and left and right guard. This means Morgan is absorbing information about four different positions before he’s even played a snap in the NFL.

If Morgan was just lining up at left tackle, he’d still be dealing with the transition from the college ranks to the NFL. But by lining up at four different positions, he’s dealing with more changes.

Just lining up at right tackle would force Morgan to do everything as a mirror image of what he’s used to. Former Packers offensive lineman Josh Sitton compared switching sides on the line to learning to “wipe your ass with the other hand.” That alone is certainly an adjustment.

Because his arm length is a little below ideal NFL standards, many scouts around the league thought Morgan would be best suited to playing guard in the NFL. Head coach Matt LaFleur has yet to commit to any one position for the former Arizona star.

Moving inside to guard would also be an adjustment for Morgan. He now has teammates lining up on either side of him at the snap of the ball as opposed to just on one side. He also has defensive players coming at him from a different angle than the edge rushers who typically can line up wide and try to get around an offensive tackle.

Interior defensive linemen also typically have different body types and skill sets than edge rushers. Their approach to getting to the quarterback or the ball carrier tends to be different as well. This is a further adjustment that Morgan will have to make.

If he plays left guard, he will have to adjust to playing inside and to playing against NFL caliber opponents. If he moves to right guard, he also has to adjust to doing everything in a mirror image of how he is used to playing.

During the offseason program, LaFleur was quoted as saying that “mentally, he has a long way to go,” when asked about Morgan.

Granted, Morgan has yet to play in a preseason game, let alone a regular season game at this early stage in his development. But based on the changes and adjustments he has to make and the multitude of positions he’s being asked to learn, it appears unlikely that Morgan will be ready to start for the Packers in time for Week 1 of the 2024 NFL season.

This is hardly a reason for concern at this early stage of Morgan’s career. In fact, he could catch up in training camp and battle for a starting spot at either tackle or guard spot. For now, it’s time to let the process play out and see how Morgan develops into an NFL player.

 

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4 points
 

Comments (35)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
stockholder's picture

June 20, 2024 at 12:21 pm

A LONG TIME - So Baptism by Fire is out!
IMO - Walker was the future at LT.
And the packers could have had King Sua Later.
Who would have been the perfect back-up/starter.

But the painful part is DeJean was the best pick.

-4 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

June 20, 2024 at 03:33 pm

Making this kind of comment about players that haven't yet played a down in the NFL is a great way to plan to eat your words. Do it often enough and it's bound to happen. Nobody really knows how these guys careers will play out until it happens. But while DeJean lasted to the 2nd round (proving GMs didn't agree with Packer fans about his draft status), we have learned of 2 or 3 other teams that wanted Morgan and may have been planning to trade up and take him.

So go ahead and feel pain now; but you might just find out later there was no reason to feel that pain. Just this week we've read about trades that didn't work out and that ended up being a good thing for GB.

4 points
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stockholder's picture

June 20, 2024 at 05:27 pm

I've always stood by my draft thoughts.

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Coldworld's picture

June 21, 2024 at 08:46 am

Now that’s amusing.

0 points
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stockholder's picture

June 21, 2024 at 10:25 am

"Dissonance" should work with your
crossword puzzle, instead of amusing.

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Leatherhead's picture

June 20, 2024 at 05:42 pm

I liked DeJean and I'd have been happy with him. But the more I look at this, I've reached the point where I believe the Packers believe Valentine is a starting CB (he started 12 games for us last year, and both playoff games), and that's what made the decision to trade Rasul Douglas happen.

If the Packers felt Walker was the future at LT, they wouldn't have drafted Morgan. We have a great chance to put a really awesome offense on the field for the next couple of years, and nothing would derail that more quickly than failing to protect Love.

Go back and watch the games. Walker played quite well towards the end of the season, but he wasn't Bakhtiari. The team thinks Morgan can be Bakhtiari, and more.

1 points
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stockholder's picture

June 20, 2024 at 06:01 pm

I saw DeJean as being versatile. A playmaker.
Morgan is a good kid and there is No disappointment yet.
The mistake is saying Walker can't play LT!
Especially since the Packers draft players, to be Versatile.
Of course Walker wasn't Bahk. Yet.
But if you don't put /start Morgan at LT.
Your point of Morgan being more than Bahk, is questionable.

-3 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

June 20, 2024 at 06:05 pm

Bakhtiari was arguably the best LT in the league before his injury. How the hell do you know the team thinks Morgan will be as good "and more". I've yet to hear one comment from the team that would suggest that to be true.

Did they convey this to you when they called and asked your advice on draft night?

3 points
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Leatherhead's picture

June 20, 2024 at 06:28 pm

Whatever,Princess.

2 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

June 20, 2024 at 10:11 pm

"The team thinks Morgan can be Bakhtiari, and more."
🤣🤣🤣 Yep, HOF level players are a dime a dozen.

3 points
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Leatherhead's picture

June 22, 2024 at 10:51 am

I didn't realize Bakhtiari was in the HOF. In fact, I didn't realize he was that much better than Clifton, who is also not in the HOF.

If Morgan can't give us more than Bakhtiari has over the last 4 years, it was a wasted pick.

You don't read/reason very well sometimes, Chesty.

-1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

June 20, 2024 at 06:42 pm

Sua will be the project LT. More of a RT. Morgan has better footwork than Walker. His Wingspan is wider than Walker and 11-0" mitts. If Walker was your future star he would have taken the job without sharing the spot with Nijman from game two forward and Gutedkunst would have been shopping for a guard. McKinney made DeJean less of a priority. Maybe he thought he would be there @ # 41, but Philly was more aggressive in the order.

4 points
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GregC's picture

June 20, 2024 at 08:17 pm

Why does wingspan matter? Blockers don't play with their arms extended from the sides of their body. They play with their arms extended in front of their body. That's why the length of the arms is the measurement that is always cited. There are very few OTs in the NFL with arms as short as Morgan's. I did some digging, and the best one I found is Braeden Smith, RT for the Colts, who has arms that are only 32-1/4" long. And he's pretty good. Morgan's arms are half an inch longer at 32-3/4" long. Also, the Steelers have a tackle with arms the same length as Morgan's.

That's all I could find. For every one of these outliers, you can find several short-armed OTs who were converted to guard when they got to the NFL. I'm hoping Morgan can be one of those rare exceptions and become a quality OT.

2 points
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stockholder's picture

June 20, 2024 at 08:19 pm

Hold on.--- Sua would have let Tom move to Center.
There was a time when the Packers wanted their
Lts to start at RT first. Don't bring Nijman into this.
DeJean was a pick to play anywhere.
Morgan Can't. So far it's LT or Bust.
Don't be surprised if Jenkins is replaced by Morgan first.

-2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

June 20, 2024 at 08:49 pm

You don't use one picks on RTs. Yes, Jenkins probably will not see the third contract.

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GregC's picture

June 20, 2024 at 09:10 pm

Lots of RTs are taken in the first round--sometimes in the top half of the round. For that matter, a fair number of guards and centers are taken in the first round, albeit usually toward the end of the round.

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joejetson's picture

June 20, 2024 at 08:25 pm

In Reply to 'Stockholder's' first comment, I quote Olson Johnson: "I’m particularly glad that these lovely children were here today to hear that speech. Not only was it authentic frontier gibberish, it expressed a courage little seen in this day and age".

1 points
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Ya_tittle's picture

June 21, 2024 at 02:32 pm

LOVE Blazing Saddles!

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bossofallbosses's picture

June 21, 2024 at 10:28 pm

They haven't even put the pads on yet. Morgan has been in four different spots on the line learning a new offense facing the one's. That's a heavy task for even the best rookie OT in any draft class as all of them would struggle. That's hoq you learn is making mistakes and getting beat in camps and learning through trial and error.

Dejean has stiff hips and can't play man to man coverage. Kalen King was a great pick as he has first round talent but thankfully he fell to the 7th round like his former PSU teammate in Walker who was a first round talent but due to a terrible final season at PSU he slipped to the 7th round. He was bad in the first half of the season but turned it around in the second half and dominated.

0 points
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GregC's picture

June 20, 2024 at 12:28 pm

I'm fine with all of this. The fact that he is being tried at multiple positions shows that the coaching staff has confidence in his ability to learn and make adjustments. The main need on the OL this year was depth, rather than an upgrade at any particular position. Morgan should be able to provide that depth this year and hopefully assume a starting role in a year or two, if not this year.

Thanks to Josh Sitton for the quote of the day, although I will probably not be sharing that one with my wife (or anyone else).

7 points
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ricky's picture

June 20, 2024 at 12:31 pm

As always, it doesn't matter where a player is drafted, it's whether they are football players or not. There are, of course, higher expectations for the higher picks. But recall that Bakhtiari went in the fourth round; Elgton Jenkins in the second. Just because someone is taken in the first does not mean they'll automatically be a starter. That is something that is earned. And, as always, different players develop at different rates. Rashan Gary and Davante Adams are excellent examples of players who developed after their initial seasons. And both were loudly being denounced as "busts" after a slow start. Let the guy get settled into his new life, decide what position he is going to play, and start training him at that position.

6 points
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T7Steve's picture

June 20, 2024 at 12:31 pm

I think he'll get dialed in while in camp and a least threaten a starting position. The guy's a mauler and will start to stand out when the pads go on. What great depth we'll have if he's successful.

7 points
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splitpea1's picture

June 20, 2024 at 12:44 pm

The Packers are more interested in footwork and athleticism than arm length when it comes to the tackles. Tom, Walker, and even going back as far as Bulaga and Clifton--they all had less than ideal arm length. Only Bakh and Newhouse had measurements that were at least 34 inches.

So Morgan has to absorb a lot of new information--no surprises here as the Packers value versatility on the line. You want him to eventually win a tackle position, but until then we'll take any way he can help us up front.

5 points
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Duneslick's picture

June 20, 2024 at 12:53 pm

Here we go already making excuses for the pick. I Bet Graham Barton will be starting

-8 points
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GregC's picture

June 20, 2024 at 01:13 pm

I feel lucky to be a fan of a team that's so good that its first round draft pick is not guaranteed to start. They needed starters at only two positions--linebacker and safety--and they were still able to draft arguably the best player at each one of those positions. Both of them are likely to start.

6 points
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dobber's picture

June 20, 2024 at 02:02 pm

Probably at center.

1 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

June 20, 2024 at 03:35 pm

Doesn't matter if Barton is starting. Doesn't mean he's a better player or a better pick. Not at all.

1 points
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Turophile's picture

June 21, 2024 at 07:11 am

Yep, true. You measure a player by his career, not how he did as a rookie.

1 points
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bossofallbosses's picture

June 21, 2024 at 10:30 pm

Packers have an elite RT and LT. It didn't matter which OT they drafted in the first round, they qould never start in year one. NO CHANCE

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

June 20, 2024 at 01:45 pm

This is quite a bit of speculation, especially when we're a month away from putting on pads.

The known facts are that LaFleur has said Morgan would start his career at LT. Bill Bellichick has said he's a LT. Morgan was drafted AFTER the coaches had ample opportunity to know what Walker brings to the table, which it's unlikely they would have done if they didn't think Morgan could beat out Walker.

My theory is that who-plays-where is going to be solved by injuries. If nobody gets hurt, then halelujah.

I don't know how quickly Morgan will develop, but when the stretch run on our season begins, around Thanksgiving, I'm confident he'll be our LT.

4 points
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dobber's picture

June 20, 2024 at 02:03 pm

"This is quite a bit of speculation, especially when we're a month away from putting on pads."

Yup.

People need to cool their jets.

4 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

June 20, 2024 at 10:04 pm

This makes no sense at all. Their backup OT situation was horrendous and they were high on Cooper and Bullard. The pickings were pretty slim by the time they picked Lloyd.

After the injury situations the last few years it's pretty obvious depth can often be needed. It doesn't matter to me where he plays as long as he's a starter in his 2nd season and is eventually an above average one. I guess you wouldn't have drafted Bulaga knowing where he'd end up playing?

4 points
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Ferrari-Driver's picture

June 20, 2024 at 04:49 pm

Morgan has size and athletic ability which is something that can't be taught. However, if as LaFleur says Morgan has a lot to learn...fine, I can understand that and I feel confident that can be accomplished. But as I said you can't learn size and athletic ability...that comes from your mom and dad. Big athletic men are scarce and when we get a chance to add one to our team, that is generally a good thing.

5 points
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Turophile's picture

June 21, 2024 at 05:31 am

Starting year one, game one, is nice, the preferred choice for a first round pick, but the Packers didn't draft Morgan just for 2024, they want a career out of him. If they can get 5+ years out of him as a starter, it is a win.

2 points
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bossofallbosses's picture

June 21, 2024 at 10:42 pm

After watching Morgan progress into an elite LT last season and relinquish 0 sacks and just 1 QB hit vs Parsons and Bosa in the playoffs, I'm 100 percent certain he's going to start at LT, Tom should be at RT unless the chest injury prevents him from being ready in game one. The only position that's possibly open for Morgan to have a chance to fight for is RG vs Sean. Sean is a great run blocker but terrible pass blocker.

-1 points
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