Saturday, 11 February 2012

Lemmens and Morgan Could Bring in an Infusion of Youth to the Alouettes

Amidst the Noel Devine excitement, the Montreal Alouettes did sign five more free agents on Friday. However, two names that caught my attention due to their success at the college level were defensive lineman, Kristofer “Duke” Lemmens, and safety DaJuan Morgan.

During his four years at the University of Florida, I watched Lemmens play with a blue collar mentality. His motor never stopped, especially going against the premier running backs of the SEC.

Given the superior talent that the Gators possessed on their defensive line, Lemmens did not put up incredible statistics as he finished with five career sacks. After playing for the Gators, he was briefly apart of the Arizona Cardinals training camp last season.

But at 6’3, 250 pounds, Lemmens' speed off the edge could be vital for the Alouettes pass rush. There is no question that the open spot once occupied by Anwar Stewart is up for grabs. Sure, Daunte Akra would be given first opportunity to fill that void. But Lemmens isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty, and to do what is needed to win each play.

Moreover, the top level coaching he received in Gainesville from the likes of Urban Meyer, Greg Mattison, Teryl Austin, and Dan McCarney all spoke volumes of how hard of a worker he is.

With the defensive line transitioning to the younger horses such as Moton Hopkins and John Bowman, Lemmens could fit in seamlessly into this energetic group.

Morgan is a player that head coach Marc Trestman is familiar with during his time as offensive coordinator at North Carolina State.

Heading into the 2008 NFL draft, Morgan was considered to be one of the premier safeties in the draft, as he was taken by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round. But it seemed he never felt comfortable playing in the Herm Edwards cover two system. Then after the season, Edwards was fired and replaced by Todd Haley, who brought his own players and different philosophy to the team.

Following the 2009 season Morgan moved on from the Chiefs. In 2010 he had a brief stint with the Indianapolis Colts, and in 2011 he joined the New York Jets practice roster, before surfacing with the Alouettes.

If Morgan is going to play safety, could he supplant Etienne Boulay? Recently, this position has been occupied by a non-import as prior to Boulay; it was Matt Proulx who was the starter. It would be awfully tough decision for the organization if Morgan has a solid camp. Keep in-mind if he were to become a starter that means the non-import ratio would have to be applied elsewhere.

For Morgan to crack this roster, he would almost assuredly need to make an impact on special teams, and become versatile to play all the positions in the secondary which he did at N.C. State.

Entering the 2011 season the secondary was a group full of depth, and talent, but by the last game of the season it resembled a MASH unit with third stringers on the field.

In the end I give credit to Jim Popp for bringing in two players who have received the highest education of football during their time in school and the NFL. If they could become solid contributors, then Popp has laid a solid foundation for the next generation of players.

You can follow me on Twitter @MoeKhan19

Listen to me on The Midnight Snack every Friday morning from midnight-2am, every Tuesday night on Gamepoints, and various shows on TSN 990.

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