It can be argued that the biggest need for NFL teams across the board is for quality pass rushers. USC‘s Morgan Breslin fits that mold, and he should be very attractive to teams when the draft comes around next May.
Breslin may end up being a better fit as a rotational player, but because of his ability to play both 3-4 outside linebacker and 4-3 defensive end and his spectacular discipline and run-defending ability, it’s a virtual certainty that he’ll be able to contribute to an NFL team for at least 10-15 plays per game.
Breslin played the traditional defensive end position in 2012 after transferring to USC from Diablo Valley Junior College. He was exceptionally effective, totaling 62 tackles with 19.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks. This season, with USC having switched to defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergrast, Breslin was converted into a 3-4 outside linebacker, and he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down when he’s been healthy.
Breslin is on the short side for a 4-3 end, so he may be looked at more favorably on by 3-4 teams. However, he has a great amount of power, and he looks to be more valuable at least at the college level when he has a hand in the dirt. He’s comparable to a player like Chris Long or Ryan Kerrigan — he doesn’t have a great amount of natural athletic ability, but he gets in perfect position all the time and has an instinct for making plays.
Breslin probably won’t get taken in the first round due to the fact that he’s only played two years of college and has been injured during the second. On top of that, he’s not the type of guy who’s going to wow at the combine and make a huge move up the board.
With that said, the team that decides to take him likely will get great value. Breslin’s an exceptionally reliable selection, and it would be a big surprise if he didn’t end up being at least a valuable role player for several years to come.
- Very good run defender
- Disciplined and seems to be in the right place all the time
- Has experience rushing both standing up and with hand on the ground
- Does a good job getting around tackles and shifting his weight to get to the quarterback
- More of a power rusher; can play in a 3-4 but probably would be more productive in a 4-3
- Lacks quickness at times coming off the edge and isn’t exceptionally explosive
- Could stand to improve his tackling form
- Seems kind of miscast in the OLB role; good enough with his positioning that he can capably do it, but takes better advantage of his power with a hand on the ground
Breslin has struggled with injuries this year. He missed the season opener against Hawaii, and he’s now struggling with a hip injury that will keep him out for a second straight game. However, he’s been pretty effective when he’s gotten on the field, having registered four sacks and 7.5 tackles over four games. Breslin isn’t showing much issue with his position change, and the versatility that he’s displayed could end up helping his draft stock.
2014 Draft Projection: 2nd Round