IB JAMES MORRIS, IOWA

6’1” – 241 lbs. – 4.80

POSITIVES:

  • Will graduate having started for about three years total over four years at Iowa.
  • Possesses adequate height and the thick build associated with middle linebackers.
  • Frequently around the ball due to his solid instincts, motor, and movement skills.
  • Physical when it comes to taking on blockers, has a nice punch to jolt linemen.
  • Has plenty of experience working in the slot, could fit into a team’s sub package.
  • Looks smooth and technically-sound in coverage, did a nice job in the cone drill.
  • Well-rounded usage, has been asked to blitz and cover in addition to run defense.
  • Contributed on various special-teams units, creating a logical early-career niche.

NEGATIVES:

  • May need to add another ten to fifteen pounds to play in a 3-4, but close to maxed.
  • Has short 30 ¾” arms, with an overall physique more compact than prototypical.
  • Not quite the blitzer you’d expect, gets pinballed around a little bit by linemen.
  • Doesn’t have the height or length to work in man coverage against pro tight ends.
  • Not gifted with a great tackle radius, needs to be well-positioned to make the stop.
  • Versatility is limited; not tall enough for strongside, athletic enough for weakside.
  • When opposing blockers do get into his pads, has trouble disengaging using hands.

SUMMARY:

From a physical perspective, Morris isn’t exactly prototypical, with only adequate height and weight for a middle linebacker (slightly below-average weight for a 3-4 inside ‘backer.) His short arms may also create problems. However, he is able to compensate for some of his shortcomings in those regards with a physical, aggressive style of play which is enhanced by his sound play recognition and instincts, both in the run game and in coverage. At this year’s Combine, he did well for himself, with a respectable 4.80 in the 40-yard dash and 6.94-second three-cone drill which should earn him a spot on the second half of the draft’s third day, where he should have value to teams seeking a well-rounded inside linebacker who can eventually play in either scheme. At this point, the main concern regarding Morris is whether or not he can add more bulk to his frame and develop his hand use to shed blocks more effectively, both important factors for teams considering 3-4 thumpers.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s