In the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft the Chicago Bears selected their third small school prospect of the draft, offensive lineman Jordan Morgan of Kutztown University. The thing that sets him apart from from the other DII players, is the Bears’ coaching staff coached him at the Senior Bowl. They had a first hand look at him practicing against Michigan Wolverines, USC Trojans and Iowa Hawkeyes. They also had a chance to play the college left tackle at guard the entire week.
I’d say the Bears have as good a feel for Morgan’s potential, that they do for any draft pick they’ve made in Ryan Pace’s time as Bears’ GM.
Here’s the transcript from when Jordan Morgan talked with the media following the draft.
Here’s Morgan on his Senior Bowl experience.
“First difference at the Senior bowl I just noticed the different atmosphere coming from a small D2 school I knew that I had to make the most of that opportunity because that was my big shot to show teams that I was ready to compete at a higher-level. Pretty much just tried to attack the week head on and just try to market myself to coaches showing them that I was somebody who was a hard worker and was always wanting to learn and develop. I tried to find my best way to show out to coaches. The beginning of the week was definitely an adjustment because like I said just difference in competition levels, difference in position levels, I had to adjust a bit but I think after my first day or so I started to pick up on the fly, and I just started to perform better and better each day.”
On his impressions of the Bears coaching staff that week.
“I actually really like the staff a lot. Going into the Senior Bowl, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. But I felt like I hit it off with Coach Washburn and them right off the bat. They are really humble down to earth guys and offered advice whenever they could, and the biggest thing for me that I noticed was just how approachable they were, if I had questions ranging from anything from like a play to just a technique or how did they want me to block certain things, they were straight up with me and told me how they wanted to get done and tried their best to convey that message to me and that what’s I like the most about them.”
Morgan is a4 year starter at left tackle for Kutztown, so he was asked if he has a preference between guard or tackle.
“I don’t really have a preference between the two, I played 43 games at left tackle in college, that week at the Senior Bowl l was my first real live action at guard. I like it just as much as tackle, I really don’t have a preference just like being out on the field and being able to compete.”
On if he gets a sense if the Bears want him at guard or tackle.
“I would assume guard because they were for the most part in charge of who played what position and like I said I’m not opposed to that I actually encouraged that going into there because it was something new, and I wanted to be able to show them that I could be a jack of all trades, so to speak.”
Chicago GM Ryan Pace has alread said they plan to play him at guard.
Here’s Morgan on the difference between Division 2 and his Senior Bowl experience.
“I thought it was great. like I mentioned earlier in the beginning there was some speed adjustments, adjusting to the talent level, but I think once I got used to that I kind of just started to take off from there. At the end of the day football is football no matter what division or school you’re from, and that’s why I felt like I almost, I wouldn’t say I went in with a chip on my shoulder, but I went in with a great level of confidence because I believed that I could get the job done.”
What are his greatest strengths?
“I would say my greatest strength on the field would probably be my feet. I have quick feet, and even if I find myself playing with bad technique at times I always manage to still be in a solid position and it’s because of my footwork.”
On how he ended up at Kutztown.
“Originally I had only played half the season of high school football so I wasn’t exactly recruited coming out of high school and the school that took a shot on me, Kutztown, allowed me to come in as a walk on. I just kind of had to work my way up from there.”
On why he only played half of a season in high school at Parkway Northwest High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“I was never really big into football. My father was a huge football fan but I wasn’t, I was a basketball fan. Once I reached my senior year of high school, you had to do something called “enrichment hours” to graduate and it was basically a program that some schools in inner-city Philly had to help promote the youth and push them through the school and try to keep them out of trouble and off the streets. So, you had to either do extra credit, as in community service, or you had to do extracurricular activities and I just went with football because I already had a few friends on the team that were encouraging me to try it, so I figured why not?”
On how it worked him playing half of a season.
“When I first started playing, I had banged myself up pretty good and had gotten hurt in camp and missed the first half of the season just because my body wasn’t really in football shape. I wasn’t used to the grind that football was, so just hopping straight into it I just hurt myself. I wasn’t disciplined or smart enough to understand how to treat myself and just how to be able to block and move efficiently without hurting myself.”
On when he knew he could play at the highest level.
“I would say after my freshman year of college. At that point I realized that I had some things going for me, like I was able to move better than some guys and do things better, and these were the guys that had been playing the game for ten, fifteen years. Then, there’s just me who has only been playing for like a year or two. So for me I was always trying to push myself to see how much better of a player I could become, and each season I just had to have that goal, just trying to set the bar higher and higher. Then, I just started to see that I could compete with anyone as long as I kept that same work ethic.”
On for the draft being in Philadelphia and getting drafted by the Bears.
“It was a very emotional moment. I knew based off of my senior season and everything I’ve done this year that I’d put myself in a solid spot, but there was still no real way of knowing where I was going to go or what was really going to happen. So, I had a lot of nerves these past couple of days, just watching the draft making sure I had my phone charged and ready. I really didn’t know what to expect, so once I got that call I was just overcome with emotion.”
Who was the best pass rusher he faced in college?
“There’s a defensive end from Cal PA (California University of Pennsylvania) named Jordan Lardani, he’s a pretty solid guy.”
And how did he do againat him?
“I think I let up a late hit against him. It was like the very last game of my college career, but other than that I think it was a pretty good matchup.”
A quick google search tells me that Lardani has yet to be picked up by an NFL team.
Here’s Morgan on if he had any interaction with Bears after Senior Bowl.
“After the Senior Bowl, I didn’t really have any interactions with the Bears. The coaches just told all of the players if you ever need anything just give them a call, but on the road of this whole process there wasn’t really anything to call them for, I didn’t want to bug them calling them every week like “Hey, do you guys think you’ll get me?” So pretty much between now and then, I didn’t really have any real interactions with the Bears, so this caught me off guard.”
Here’s an interview Morgan gave while he was down in Mobile.