2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report


Mike Morris

January 17, 2023 1:00 PM EST


Mike Morris Scouting Report picture

School: Michigan

Height: 6'6"

Weight: 292

Eligibility: SR

Uniform: #90

Position: EDGE


Evaluated by: Sam Teets
sam.teets86@gmail.com
Twitter: Sam_Teets33
December 5, 2022


Prospect Overview


2022: 12 games
2021: 14 games
2020: 1 game
2019: 0 games

Morris was a four-star recruit from American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla. in the class of 2019. He was the No. 396 recruit according to 247Sports and No. 383 (four-star) for On3.com. Morris was an unranked four-star recruit for Rivals and an unranked four-star recruit for ESPN with an 80 grade out of 100.


Mike Morris Scouting Report image 1

As a high school senior, he amassed 89 tackles, including 25 for loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. Morris totaled 84 tackles, including 31 for loss, and four sacks as a junior. He exploded onto the scene as a high school freshman with 13 sacks.

Morris earned Palm Beach All-County honors each year during his high school career and was an All-Area First-Team selection in 2017 and 2018. He originally committed to Florida State before flipping to Michigan. Morris chose the Wolverines over offers from Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Kentucky, Miami, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

His father, Mike Morris Sr., played along the offensive line at Florida State. The younger Morris was born on April 22, 2001. His sister Milan 'Mimi' Bolden-Morris is a graduate assistant for the Wolverines. She previously played basketball at Boston College for three seasons and at Georgetown for two seasons, amassing 1,145 career points.

The senior defensive end amassed quite a few awards in 2022. He picked up his third consecutive Academic All-Big Ten selection while receiving First-Team All-Big Ten honors from the conference's coaches and media. Morris also received the Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year award, given to the conference's best defensive lineman.

Morris had a unique path to college stardom. He didn't play a game during his freshman season, only made one appearance in 2020, and only made four starts in 2021. Morris applied pressure on roughly 6.7% of his pass rush snaps in 2021 and 17.0% in 2022. He missed two games in his senior year with an undisclosed injury.


Mike Morris Scouting Report image 2

Positives

Morris is listed at 6'6", 292 lbs., but he likely weighs slightly less than that unofficial measurement suggests. The Wolverines primarily lined him up in two-point stances this past season. Morris has adequate to slightly above-average arm length for an edge rusher, which is crucial considering his rush style.

Morris possesses a terrific frame that combines ideal height and weight with strength distributed throughout his frame. The senior resets the line of scrimmage with his power, frequently disrupting offenses at the point of attack. He also attacks pulling guards to deaden their momentum and create opportunities for tackles for loss.

Morris' anchor is sufficient for holding up one-on-one against linemen in the run game. The physical All-Big Ten selection sets hard edges. Morris deconstructs blocks with his hands and works his way into the backfield for splash plays. He makes plays as a backside run defender because of his surprising closing speed. The Florida native flows down the line to the football and takes proper pursuit angles.

Morris is one of the best edge rushers in the 2023 class at timing the snap. He pairs his timing with an explosive first step. Morris displays impressive acceleration early in his rush, which he uses to convert speed to power at the point of contact. The former four-star recruit drives his legs with power to walk offensive linemen back into the pocket.

Morris is careful to avoid being carried too far upfield by his rush plan. His strength helps him work through the half-man portion of his rush without being washed away or collapsed by the offensive lineman. There are flashes of Morris flattening his rush to the quarterback.

The Michigan edge rusher has active and powerful hands that he uses in a combination of swims and swipes. One of his most effective combinations involves chaining his bull rush with a late swim move. Morris uses his footwork to fake inside before jumping outside and vice versa. He attacks inside rush lanes from 4 and 5-tech alignments. Morris gets his hands up for pass breakups on reps where he fails to reach the quarterback.

Areas for Improvement

Morris earned All-Big Ten honors in 2022 despite playing less than 400 defensive snaps. He's never played more than 380 defensive snaps in a season and only has one year with high-end production. His lack of special teams experience raises questions about his floor as a rookie and ability to see game action in 2023.

Morris has some experience reducing inside, but he lacks the leverage and power to anchor against double teams and vertical push from interior linemen. These limitations will prevent him from playing significant snaps between the tackles at the next level. Morris also lacks a developed pass rush plan suited for attacking from 3-tech or 2-tech positions. The furthest inside he looks comfortable is as a 4i.

Morris doesn't display ideal change of direction skills and lacks high-end speed. He's not a bendy, sudden, or twitchy athlete, and some lower body stiffness limits his ability to win the tackle's outside shoulder. That lack of bend and heavy reliance on power moves, which will be less successful against NFL-caliber tackles, raise concerns.

Morris needs to play with a better pad level. There are too many snaps where he loses the leverage battle. The senior defensive end has room to improve his leg drive and create more disruption by churning his legs late in plays.

Morris' hands are active, but he lacks a deep set of pass rush moves. His tendency to rely on power results in too much time spent stuck on blocks and slow rushes that never reach the quarterback. Morris could address these concerns by refining his hand counters and playing with more violence. Specifically, developing rip and push-pull moves would go a long way to improving his effectiveness.


Mike Morris Scouting Report image 3

Draft Stock

Morris generates pressures by timing his jump at the snap and chaining together pass rush moves set up by his power. However, he lacks the lower body looseness and bend to consistently turn the corner and flatten his rush to the quarterback. NFL teams place a significant emphasis on high-end athletic traits that aren't present in Morris' initial profile.

Morris primarily played in a two-point stance in 2022, but he projects as a 4-3 defensive end in a three-point stance at the NFL level. He could kick inside to play defensive end in a 3-4 scheme, but that's not his best role. Morris can improve his value once he reaches the league by diversifying his pass rush plan. He could build a subsection of moves that complement his power rushes instead of relying on them.

Morris projects as a late-third round to mid-fourth round selection. He's competing against many 4-3 defensive end prospects, including Zach Harrison (Ohio State), Dylan Horton (TCU), Myles Murphy (Clemson), Lukas Van Ness (Iowa), Keion White (Georgia Tech), and Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech). Felix Anudike-Uzomah (Kansas State) and Tuli Tuipulotu (USC) could also go to 4-3 schemes. The plethora of defensive end prospects could push Morris out of the top 100 selections.

Morris won't earn a feature role early in his rookie season, but he could be a high-level rotational player by the end of 2023 and a full-time starter by his second or third season in the NFL.


Mike Morris Scouting Report image 4

Player Comparison

The immediate comparison that came to mind while watching Morris' tape was current Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson. The two defensive ends share some size similarities, but this comparison relies heavily on the elements present in each player's game during their final collegiate seasons.

The Saints selected Hendrickson out of Florida Atlantic with the 103rd pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. During his final two seasons with the Owls, he totaled 23 sacks and was the 2016 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year. Hendrickson took three years to catch on at the NFL level before becoming a full-time starter in 2020. He's sacked the quarterback 35.5 times over the past three years.

Hendrickson was 6'4", 266 lbs. and ran a 4.65 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Morris will be slightly larger, younger, and slower, but he has more traditional arm length. Similar to Morris, Hendrickson primarily took snaps as a 4 and 5-tech in college. He reduced inside occasionally, but no one expected that part of his game to translate to the NFL.

Morris is more physically developed than his FAU counterpart was back in the day, but the two edge rushers won in similar ways during their college careers. They turned quick or explosive first steps into early acceleration, which culminated in speed to power rushes or swim moves. Both players showed high-level effort and never feared attacking inside rush lanes.

However, Hendrickson and Morris battled some raw elements to their rushes in their hand usage and lack of developed pass rush plans.

Hendrickson and Morris dominated late in their college careers. The Michigan star will probably follow a similar path as Hendrickson in the NFL, taking several years to build his pass rush arsenal and perfect the mental element of creating a pass rush plan before becoming a full-time starter.

A few traits and playstyle elements separate Hendrickson and Morris. Hendrickson had more natural bend but paid limited attention to the run game. Even now, the Pro Bowl Bengals pass rusher isn't a high-level run defender. Morris' run defense is one of the strongest areas of his profile entering the league.

Games Evaluated

  • Maryland (2022)
  • Iowa (2022)
  • Penn State (2022)
  • Michigan State (2022)
  • Ohio State (2022)


Scouting Video Courtesy of Prince Highlights




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