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2017 NFL DRAFT
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Derek Morris

Height: 6-6 | Weight: 328 | College: North Carolina State
 
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Overview

Morris is a raw talent with a very good blend of strength, size and athleticism. He found a home at right tackle, starting 23 games for the Wolfpack after originally signing with Ohio State out of high school.

Morris was a first-team USA Today and Parade All-American in 2001 at North Mecklenberg High School. Rivals.com rated him the fourth-best tackle in the nation and G&W Recruiting ranked him the nation's top offensive lineman. He graded out at 89 percent as a senior and recorded 28 knockdown blocks. He was the first offensive lineman ever to win Shrine Bowl MVP honors.

Morris originally signed with Ohio State in 2002, but failed to meet academic requirements due to a poor ACT score. He petitioned for his release, which was granted, but missed the entire season. Morris then transferred to North Carolina State. The NCAA required him to sit out almost four complete games in 2003 because of undisclosed issues related to his brief time at Ohio State, his father said at the time.

Morris appeared North Carolina State's final six games of the 2003 season, starting five. He posted 11 key blocks, including three knockdowns, on 342 plays. He again manned the right tackle position in 2004, missing the Clemson and Georgia Tech games after spraining his ankle vs. Miami. In 463 plays, he produced 15 knockdowns among his 32 big plays.

Morris was bothered early in 2005 by a shoulder sprain suffered vs. Eastern Kentucky. He started 10 regular season games, collecting 24 knockdowns and 31 big plays. He decided to bypass his senior year, declaring for the 2006 NFL Draft. Morris started 22 of 25 games at State, participating in 1,442 plays. He delivered 42 knockdowns and 74 key plays during his time with the Wolfpack.

Analysis

Positives: Wide-body athlete with very good growth potential … Has solid overall muscle development, thick chest and shoulders, wide hips, big bubble and long arms … Has adequate quickness off the ball and is able to gain position when he keeps his pads down … Not explosive driving off the snap, but has the size and strength to gain movement and the upper body power to steer his man and hold open the rush lanes … Better as a drive blocker than when position blocking … Uses his arm strength and upper body to create movement and has a road grader mentality when blocking in-line … His hand punch can consistently overwhelm defenders and he gets good hand placement to extend and sustain … Might be better suited for guard, as he struggles to neutralize the edge rush, but knows how to use his size to gain position off the ball and has enough agility in the short area to get out front on pulls and traps.

Negatives: Lacks a good feel for coverages and is slow to pick up stunts and blitzes … Has adequate initial quickness, but his feet die when he has to get into the second level … Has the hand punch to re-establish position at the line of scrimmage, but hesitates some with his hands just before applying contact … Does a poor job of taking angles when working in the second level … Gets too erect at times in his pass set, failing to mirror, and quicker edge rushers are then able to slip past … Has very good hand strength when he connects, but tends to wind up to punch … Has adequate lateral agility, but his feet appear to be too heavy to change direction in space and he is not able to slide and reach his pass set point to cut off action on the edge.

Morris is an imposing-looking athlete with long arms, big mitts for hands and great raw power, but he lacks a good grasp of the mental aspect of the game. He is slow to pick up stunts and games and defenders can regularly force him to jump offsides because he is that antsy when lining up at the line of scrimmage (12 penalties, mostly for holding and false starts, in 2005).

While Morris does show good effort, he does not move well in space. He shows a little nastiness at times, but needs to be more of a mauler than a finesse player. He tends to be stiff and is not much of a knee bender, causing him to struggle when trying to redirect and seal off the edge rush. He has strong hands, but will either gather to punch or bring his hands with a big windup that lets defenders slip under his arm swipes.

He did show better extension and dropped to load his hands better late in 2005 (see Southern Mississippi, Florida State and Maryland games) and does have good placement at times, but he just lacks consistency. If he gets a piece of the defender, he can sustain if locked up, but doesn't finish with his feet. He is too much of a liability operating in the second level, as he struggles in space and targeting, mostly because of the poor angles he takes in pursuit.

Morris shows good natural strength and straight-ahead speed for his size, but struggles with movement and changing direction. He has a good kick slide and short set, but tends to underset and exposes the edge, struggling to anchor at times. He has much better ability on the short pull and is effective at the collision point, making him possibly a better product to play guard, at least during the early stages of his career.

For a player of his size, Morris has decent agility and athletic ability for his size. His overall flexibility and intial explosion needs to be improved to become more effective. He is a solid player that could develop with experience, but needs to play with better field awareness. Until the "light goes on" upstairs, he will be more of a liability with his slew of costly penalties than an asset.

Career Notes

Started 22 of 25 games for the Wolfpack … Had the dubious honor of leading Division 1-A offensive line starters with 12 penalties as a junior.

2005 Season

Started 11 games at right tackle, seeing reserve action vs. Clemson … Helped the offense average 314.58 yards per game … Registered 31 key blocks, including 24 knockdowns … Allowed 6.5 sacks and nine pressures, and was penalized 12 times.

2005 Game Analysis

Virginia Tech … Participated in 73 plays, but did not register any key blocks and was penalized twice, losing 15 yards on a personal foul in the first quarter (late hit on defensive end Darryl Tapp) and 10 yards for holding on a third-and-8 play at the start of the third quarter … Head to Head Competition -- DE Noland Burchette-Three tackles (1 solo), three pressures.

Eastern Kentucky … Only played in 11 snaps due to a shoulder sprain … Was penalized once for holding … Head to Head Competition -- DE Steven Cassell-Two tackles (1 solo), 0.5 stops for a 1-yard loss, two fumble recoveries for 20 yards in returns.

North Carolina … Posted four knockdowns, including one that leveled defensive tackle Chase Page on a 14-yard scoring run by tailback Toney Baker in the first quarter … Took down defensive end Brian Rackley as QB Jay Davis rolled out to hit tight end T.J. Williams with a 39-yard scoring pass in the third quarter … State totaled 527 yards … Allowed Rackley to sack Davis for a 1-yard loss early in first quarter … Penalized three times ? twice for false starts, in the first and third quarters, and once for 15 yards on a second quarter unsportsmanlike conduct penalty … Head to Head Competition -- DE Brian Rackley-Two solo tackles, two pressures, a 1-yard sack.

Georgia Tech … Had a pair of key blocks in 56 plays for an offense that totaled 516 yards … Stopped linebacker Gerris Wilkinson on a blitz, letting Jay Davis connect with Brian Clark on a 40-yard scoring pass in the first quarter, but was called for a false start early in the second quarter … Head to Head Competition -- DE Darrell Robertson-Two solo tackles, one pass deflection.

Clemson … Did not start due to continued problems with his shoulder, but did appear in 65 plays, making two knockdowns … Left the game briefly at the start of the third quarter when he re-injured his shoulder on a Jay Davis-to-T.J. Williams 2-yard pass, but returned to action, only to be penalized 5 yards for a false start with 2:15 left in the third quarter … Head to Head Competition -- DE Gaines Adams-Four assisted tackles.

Wake Forest … Returned to the starting lineup, appearing in 70 plays … Had a rough stretch during an early second quarter drive, when defensive end Matt Robinson came over the right side of the line to tackle tailback Toney Baker for a 3-yard loss and two plays later, Robinson beat Morris to sack QB Marcus Stone for a 10-yard loss … Head to Head Competition -- DE Matt Robinson-Seven tackles (5 solos), a 10-yard sack, two stops for losses of 13 yards.

Southern Mississippi … Allowed a pair of pressures, but collected a career-high seven knockdowns, leveling linebacker Trevis Coley on tailback Andre Brown's 61-yard scoring run around the right side in the fourth quarter … Took down defensive end Matthew Chatelain to give Marcus Stone time to throw a 3-yard scoring pass to Brian Clark with 5:08 left to play, as the Wolfpack totaled 425 yards … Head to Head Competition -- DE Matthew Chatelain-Three tackles (1 solo), two pressures.

Florida State … Followed with five key blocks, including four knockdowns, as the offense generated 196 yards on the ground in a 20-15 upset win … Upended linebacker A.J. Nicholson on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Stone to tight end Anthony Hill … Head to Head Competition -- DE Willie Jones-No tackles.

Boston College … Knocked down All-America defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka twice, but the Eagles pass rusher dominated throughout the day, tackling Marcus Stone for a 4-yard loss on a first quarter option play, followed by another tackle of Stone on a third-and-11 option for minus-5 yards at the start of the second quarter … Kiwanuka then broke free from Morris to sack Stone for a 6-yard loss with 8:56 left in the first half … The BC defender also sacked Stone for a 5-yard loss and tackled Toney Baker for minus-5 yards on a third-and-3 play in the third quarter … The long afternoon for Morris continued as Kiwanuka and defensive tackle Al Washington burst into the backfield to sack Stone for a 10-yard loss at the start of the fourth quarter, and a holding penalty vs. Morris was declined by BC … Head to Head Competition -- DE Mathias Kiwanuka-12 tackles (9 solos), 3.5 sacks for minus-18 yards and 5.5 stops for losses of 29 yards.

Middle Tennessee … Played in 38 snaps with no key plays, and a long run by Toney Baker in the fourth quarter was nullified when Morris was penalized 10 yards for holding … Head to Head Competition -- DE Devarick Scandrutt-Four tackles (2 solos), two pressures.

Maryland … Bounced back with five key blocks, including three knockdowns in 63 plays … Allowed defensive end Omarr Savage to slip through the right side and sack Marcus Stone for a 2-yard loss late in the third quarter, but took down linebacker William Kershaw on a 1-yard touchdown run by Toney Baker in the third quarter … Head to Head Competition -- DE Omarr Savage-Four solo tackles, 2-yard sack.

South Florida (Meineke Car Care Bowl) … Was penalized 5 yards for a false start in the third quarter … Made a key block in the second quarter that opened a rush lane used by Andre Brown for a 1-yard touchdown run … Head to Head Competition -- DE Jon Simmons-Three tackles (1 solo), one stop for a 1-yard loss.

2004 Season

Played in eight games, starting seven at right tackle … Participated in 463 plays, registering 32 key blocks with 15 knockdowns as the offense averaged 349.0 yards per game, including 202.0 yards passing … Did not play vs. Virginia Tech (coach's decision) and missed the Clemson and Georgia Tech games after suffering a high ankle sprain vs. Miami.

2004 Game Analysis

Richmond … Opened the season in explosive fashion with nine key blocks in 45 plays, including six knockdowns, helping the team generate 403 yards … Cleared a rush lane used by tailback Darrell Blackman for a 2-yard touchdown run that capped a 12-play, 55-yard drive in the first quarter.

Ohio State … Posted three key blocks, taking down linebacker A.J. Hawk as Morris teamed with tackle Chris Colmer to lead the charge on T.A. McLendon's 11-yard scoring run in the third quarter that finished an 8-play, 80-yard drive.

Wake Forest … Shoved defensive end Jerome Nichols to the ground to spring T.A. McLendon for a 6-yard scoring run in the second quarter as the team rushed for 145 yards.

North Carolina … Added three knockdowns among his six key blocks, leveling defensive end Tommy Davis on Bobby Washington's 3-yard touchdown run that concluded an 80-yard, 5-play drive in the fourth quarter as State amassed 577 yards.

2003 Season

Sat out the team's first seven games while awaiting eligibility clearance from the NCAA … Saw his first action vs. Clemson and moved into the starting lineup the next week at Duke … Played a season-high 74 snaps at Florida State, blocking a field goal to send the game into overtime in a double-overtime loss … Played 71 snaps in the Tangerine Bowl win over Kansas.

2002 Season

Originally signed with Ohio State, but failed to qualify academically due to a low ACT score.

Injury Report

2004: Sat out the Clemson and Georgia Tech games after suffering a high ankle sprain vs. Miami (10/23).

2005: Suffered a shoulder sprain vs. Eastern Kentucky (9/17) that limited his playing time to 11 snaps … Re-injured the shoulder and left the Clemson game (10/13) in the third quarter, but returned to action after several series.

Agility Tests

Campus: 5.38 in the 40-yard dash … 525-pound bench press … 630-pound squat … 29-inch vertical jump … 34 5/8-inch arm length … 10 -inch hands … 22-inch calves.

High School

Attended North Mecklenberg (Huntersville, N.C.) High School, playing football for head coach Scott Sherrill … First-team USA Today and Parade All-American in 2001 … Rivals.com rated him the fourth-best offensive tackle in the nation and G&W Recruiting ranked him as the nation's top offensive lineman … Graded out at 89 percent as a senior and recorded 28 knockdown blocks … Was the first offensive lineman ever to win Shrine Bowl MVP honors.

Personal

Program Management major … Born 12/14/83 … Resides in Huntersville, North Carolina.

 
 
 

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