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NFL Draft Profile: Mitch Morse

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It seems like just yesterday Mitch was twerking during summer workouts, but time stops for no man. We examine what locker room will be housing his dancing shoes come fall.

Jack Peglow

For the second year in a row, an offensive lineman from Missouri is shooting up draft boards. Last year, Justin Britt came (relatively) out of nowhere and ended up being drafted by the Seahawks in the second round. Mitch Morse probably won't reach quite that altitude, but he's on a similar trajectory. Let's take a look behind the curtain and see just what's bringing about Morse's rising stock in this edition of: Behind Enemy Lines – Thinking Like an NFL Scout.

Overview

Morse is as versatile as they come. During his tenure at Mizzou, he played center, right tackle, and left tackle, which means that he'll likely play guard once he gets to the big leagues because when you have a shot at hitting for the cycle by golly you take it. In all seriousness, Morse does project better on the interior of the line. There, he can make better us of his powerful punch while making up for what he lacks in quickness. His familiarity with zone-blocking schemes will also be a boon for him, and could possibly lead to him going earlier than originally anticipated if a zone-blocking team wants to pull the trigger on a lineman.

Measurables

Strengths

Like Justin Britt before him (a common theme here), Morse is an intelligent blocker that adapts well to any situation. Whether that means handling stunts or learning a new position, he has the tools to easily evolve as necessary. His quick out of the blocks, which allows him to beat defensive linemen to the point of attack. He then uses superior balance and a good knee-bend to absorb blows and keep defenders in front of him. Morse also is good about not staying glued to his initial blocking assignment for too long. He can often be seen putting his above average straight-line speed to use as he traverses to the second level. That speed also makes him an asset in the screen game, where he has the ability to catch linebackers by surprise. He fits perfectly in a zone-blocking scheme, as he has both the physical skills and the brain for the system.

Weaknesses

Though he has solid top-end speed, his agility leaves a bit to be desired. Because of this, he's susceptible to speed rushers fast enough to get the edge on him. Obviously, moving from tackle to guard/center would negate the chances of that slightly, but a defensive end stunting inside will almost always be able to get by Morse if he doesn't get his hands on them. His tendency to play top-heavy affects his ability to engage with moving targets, which causes him to miss blocks in the second level. While his zone-blocking abilities can be seen as a major plus, they can also be viewed as a fault. Teams that do not employ such a system will likely pass on Morse in favor of a player better suited for their needs.

Projection

If you asked me a month ago, I would've told you that Morse would likely go somewhere towards the end of the draft. Round six, maybe. But, in that same Justin Britt mold again, he's been flying up Big Boards as the Draft nears. Thanks to his flexibility and knowledge of the system, I wouldn't be surprised at all if a zone-blocking team scooped him up with some (arguably) more talented linemen still available. The Broncos are a prime candidate, as Mile High Report attests. I agree with them wholeheartedly. Morse is an intelligent, reliable player, that's a recipe for a higher draft pick than your initial grade. Put me down for rounds three or four, boxman.