Derrick Morgan seemed slightly aggravated and Demaryius Thomas slightly relieved after being selected in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday in New York.
Morgan, projected to be a top-10 pick, slide to No. 16 where the Tennessee Titans snagged him. Thomas, who was surprised to be invited to New York for the shindig, was picked by the Denver Broncos at No. 22.
“I did think I was the best defensive end in the class, but Tennessee is a great situation for me,” Morgan told the Tennessean newspaper. “… It’s a huge chip on my shoulder. The teams that didn’t pick me are going to see that.”
ESPN analysts said Morgan was the complete defensive end in the draft, but two more ends were selected ahead of him. Morgan had 12 1/2 sacks last year as a junior to earn ACC defensive player of the year honors. It’s not clear why he slid, but Morgan said he wasn’t going to let that slow him down.
“I want to make an immediate impact,” he said.
Because of his size (6-3, 224 pounds) and speed (4.38 in the 40), Thomas steadily moved up the mock draft boards, even after he broke a bone in his foot in February while training. He caught 46 passes for 1,154 yards last season to become the first receiver taken on Thursday.
“I’m looking to come in and learn stuff from the guys that are already there so I can be successful like Brandon Marshall was in that offense,” Thomas told the Denver Post. Marshall was a Pro Bowl-receiver for the Broncos who was traded to Miami in the offseason.