Morgan was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to parents Frederick Morgan and Pamela Wooden. He grew up in Columbia, Pennsylvania. He attended Coatesville Area High School in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. As a senior he was the Defensive Player of the Year in his league after he had 47 tackles and seven sacks on defense and 523 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on offense.
Morgan attended Georgia Institute of Technology from 2007 to 2009. As a true freshman in 2007 he played in 12 of 13 games and recorded nine tackles. As a sophomore in 2008 he started all 13 games, recording 51 tackles and seven sacks. At the end of the season he was an honorable mention All-ACC. As a junior in 2009 he was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, a first team All-ACC selection and an All-American by the Associated Press, Pro Football Weekly, and Scout.com. He finished the season with 52 tackles, 12 sacks, and two forced fumbles.
After his junior year Morgan decided to forgo his senior season and enter the 2010 NFL Draft.
Morgan was drafted by the Tennessee Titans 16th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. He and the Titans agreed to a six-year deal on July 31, 2010. However, with playing time incentives the contract could revert to five years. The total value of the contract is $19 million ($11 million guaranteed) and includes salaries of $320,000 in 2010, $405,000 (2011), $725,000 (2012), $1.045 million (2013), $1.365 million (2014) and $1.685 million (2015).
On October 4, 2010, the Titans placed Derrick Morgan on Injured Reserve with a torn ACL, ending his rookie season. Morgan played in four games during the 2010 season and recorded 5 total tackles and 1.5 sacks.
During the 2012 season he compiled 59 tackles 6.5 sacks 6 passes defended and 1 forced fumble.