29-Year-Old Safety – Pittsburgh Steelers
2017 Fantasy Football Outlook
Once a consensus top-three IDP option at defensive back, Burnett has been limited by durability issues the last few years. Indeed, after breezing past triple-digit tackles in three of his first four y...
Morgan Burnett Contract Information:
Signed a three-year contract with the Steelers in March of 2018.
The Steelers and Burnett agreed to a three-year contract Tuesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
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|2017 Proj||28||PIT||Subscribe now to see our 2017 projections for Morgan Burnett|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
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A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
Morgan Burnett: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
While Jones is the top IDP in the secondary, Burnett can often produce at a similar rate when healthy. But while Jones has been very durable in Miami, Burnett has consistently dealt with injury troubles in Green Bay, missing nine games over the last three years, including five in 2015 due to a persistent calf injury. So long as he can play 14 games, though, Burnett would be a near lock for triple-digit tackles. In the three seasons in which he played 15-plus games, he averaged 119 tackles. Even if durability is a problem, his ceiling makes him a highly desirable IDP.
If not for a calf injury in 2014 and a hamstring injury in 2013 that combined to cost him four games, Burnett might be the unanimous top defensive back IDP by now. Even with those injuries, he averaged 113 tackles per season the last four years, as his tackle production is unmatched. Burnett isn't as strong in sacks and turnovers, averaging one sack and 1.5 interceptions the last four years, but he is a standout athlete who offers a great floor thanks to his tackling prowess.
Burnett was widely expected to be the league's top defensive back IDP in 2013, so there were many disappointed owners when he suffered a hamstring injury in the preseason that lingered until after the team's Week 4 bye. Burnett was about as productive as expected from that point onward, though, with 96 tackles (60 solo) to go along with three fumble recoveries, one of which he returned for his first career touchdown. Going back to the 2011 season, Burnett has 322 tackles in 45 games, which would project to roughly 115 tackles per 16-game season. He's Green Bay's clear-cut in-the-box safety, meaning he's usually closer to the ball than the other safety, who works more as a traditional free safety would. That means the addition of first-round draft pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix probably isn't a huge threat to Burnett's tackle totals, as Clinton-Dix will probably be farther away from the line of scrimmage on most plays. The only limitation with Burnett's game is he doesn't tend to offer much in terms of sacks or interceptions, as he posted just three and five, respectively, over the last three years.
With consecutive years of triple-digit tackles, Burnett has arrived as one of the league's elite IDPs in the secondary. The rangy safety has 226 stops (164 solo) over the last two years, and there's no reason to think he won't approach or surpass 100 tackles again in 2013. With just the unproven duo of M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian alongside him on the depth chart, the Packers will call on Burnett to play nearly every snap on defense in 2013, and his IDP reliability is further aided by Aaron Rodgers quickly and frequently leading the Packers to the end zone. That forces opponents to throw the ball to catch up, giving Burnett tackle opportunities as teams feed their receivers in an attempt to mirror Rodgers' pace. While Burnett will struggle to approach his 122 tackles from 2012, he hasn't necessarily reached his ceiling as an IDP. He has just five interceptions in the last two years, but when he played at Georgia Tech, Burnett showed a great deal of ball-hawking ability, intercepting 14 passes in 40 games.
Burnett has won the starting free-safety role in both of his NFL seasons, so his job is entirely secure entering his third year with the Packers. Although the Green Bay defense had a lot of trouble stopping the pass last year, Burnett did quite well from an IDP perspective in 2011. He finished the season with 107 tackles (78 solo), one sack, three interceptions and two forced fumbles. He also intercepted a pass in Green Bay's playoff loss to the Giants, giving him five interceptions in his first 21 NFL games. Burnett was a big-time playmaker in coverage at Georgia Tech, so it wouldn't surprise if he broke out in the interception category this year, particularly with draft additions like outside linebacker Nick Perry (first round) and defensive end Jerel Worthy (second round) providing an upgrade to the Green Bay pass rush, which should result in more off-target passes.
Burnett is a bit of a blank slate after suffering an ACL tear in Week 5 of his rookie season last year. But the athletic safety was highly productive both as a tackler and in coverage at Georgia Tech, and he was good enough in training camp last year to enter the season as a starter. He’ll be unchallenged as a starter in Green Bay, so the youngster should make a good sleeper target for IDP owners looking for a cheap option in the secondary. With Nick Collins playing center field, Burnett should have a decent presence in the box.
Burnett was a third round draft pick in 2010 and could push Atari Bigby for playing time.