Packers Draft Grades: Positives and negatives of Jordan Morgan pick

Jordan Morgan
Jordan Morgan / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

As expected, the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft was littered with unexpected outcomes and selections. While Michael Penix Jr. was the ultimate surprise pick, going eighth overall to the Atlanta Falcons, the Green Bay Packers' selection raised many eyebrows as well.

With the Packers staying put at pick 25, they submitted their draft card before two minutes had expired, insinuating they got the guy they were looking for. However, the guy they were looking for was not who fans were looking at. With fan-favorite selections like Cooper DeJean and Graham Barton falling in the Packers' lap, they instead submitted their ticket for the Arizona Wildcat's left tackle Jordan Morgan.

After suffering an ACL injury in November 2022, Morgan returned to college for the 2023 season to prove he was still worthy of first-round consideration. While he again played well, there are concerns about his arm length and where he might best project in the NFL.

However, the Packers brass and Brian Gutekunst clearly identified something with Morgan that fans are not considering. Many draft experts projected Morgan to go in the last few picks of the first round, so it's not to call the pick a reach for Green Bay, but it was surprising, given who was available.

How Morgan will play out in the long run remains to be seen, like any rookie. While there's a lot to like about his game, there are also concerns.

Pros and cons of Packers drafting Jordan Morgan in Round 1

Positive: Versatility

When it comes to drafting offensive linemen, no one sticks to their guns like the Packers do with prioritizing players who can play at numerous spots. Like Zach Tom and Elgton Jenkins, Morgan joins them as a lineman who will be moved around in order to get the best five on the field.

Morgan played all of his college snaps at Arizona from left tackle, but due to his short arm length that is more on par with NFL guards (32 7/8 inches), he is projected to slide inside. He has a clear path to a starting role at right guard, challenging Sean Rhyan for the spot, but will undoubtedly also compete for the starting left tackle job with likely starter Rasheed Walker.

Better yet, Morgan spoke about his determination to do what he has to do to contribute to the Packers' success immediately.

"I'll play anywhere that they put me—put me at guard, put me at tackle, doesn't matter. I just wanna play and win for the team."

It's worth noting that Gutekunst spoke at a press conference following the selection and stated he believes Morgan could contribute at four spots on the offensive line.

Negative: Major Injury in 2022

The last few years of David Bakhtiari are still fresh in everyone's mind, and he remains a free agent, considering his ACL injury history that has kept him off the field the past few seasons. While Morgan logged 787 offensive snaps in 2023, the most of any single season in his career, he tore his ACL in November 2022.

For Morgan to be atop the Packers' wish list, with a plethora of impact defensive players still available, there must be a firm belief that the injury is behind him. But preferably, there isn't a recent major injury tied to an investment like a first-round pick.

Not to say it will be the same situation, but the last time the Packers drafted a player with a recent significant injury in the first round, it was the very short-lived career of Justin Harrell. Where there is at least optimism is Morgan experienced a rapid and smooth recovery en route to his most impressive collegiate season.

Positive: Strong in pass and run blocking

For what it's worth, in the few snaps that Morgan squared up with fellow first-round pick and new Indianapolis Colts pass rusher Laiatu Latu, Morgan was the only one this past season to stop the draft's top pass rusher in his tracks.

In fact, in 477 pass-blocking snaps in 2023, Morgan only surrendered two sacks, 11 hurries, and one hit. In his last two seasons, he's logged 920 pass-blocking snaps at left tackle, allowing only three sacks, three hits, and 25 pressures. He's also locked down the likes of NFL pass rushers Kayvon Thibodeaux and Tuli Tuipulotu.

But the ability to hold down the blindside has not been the only strength of Morgan throughout his college career. What's harder to come by with left tackles is run-blocking, and you'll see a lot of the better run-blocking tackles play right tackle.

Morgan looks like a natural running in space and absorbing defenders on perimeter runs or screens. He finished 16th in PFF run blocking grade in 2023, contributing to the Packers' case that Morgan can give them flexibility at other positions.

Negative: Struggles with longer defenders

As seen on game tape and at Senior Bowl practices, Morgan, at times, exhibits late hands that make it difficult for him to get engaged with long-armed pass rushers. Thus, this is when he most often loses a rep.

Unfortunately, it shows up quite a bit on film, so it's worrisome that it has remained an issue despite his overwhelming success throughout his collegiate career.

The hope is that the Packers staff will quickly be able to coach up his technique and erase the issue. A move inside will also help by facing more compact defenders.

Positive: High-character leader

Simply put, Morgan is a person and player that any team would love to have in their locker room. As a two-time team captain for the Wildcats, he exuded a leadership presence through and through.

It was also one of the initial comments Gutekunst made at his presser to debrief the pick.

"Just a strong character guy," said Gutekunst. "The way the people at Arizona speak of him. Just the right kind of guy for our locker room. I think he'll fit in great."

The more high-character individuals a team can have in their locker room, the better. Rashan Gary is seen as the soul of the Packers locker room, Jordan Love is the leader, and Morgan also brings all the right traits to lead the team from the front.

Grade: B+

Morgan packs a punch and posted freakish athletic scores for a 6'5, 311-pound player, registering a 9.25 RAS. With his ability to move in space, he perfectly matches Matt LaFleur's zone run scheme. Being both strong in the pass and run, he offers the Packers creative flexibility to assemble the best offensive line.

The grade isn't higher because the Packers drafted him off pure projection to handle a slide inside. The grade isn't lower because the Packers have successfully drafted offensive linemen with positional versatility, such as Elgton Jenkins and Zach Tom.

There's good reason to believe they know what they're doing when identifying offensive linemen who fit their mold. Morgan was widely projected to go in the last few picks of the first round, so the Packers selecting him at pick 25 is hardly considered a reach.

With a massive Jordan Love extension looming, protecting the franchise's most valuable asset with a top offensive lineman in the draft is always a smart decision, even if it's not the "sexy" pick that fans look for.

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