Missouri left tackle Mitch Morse’s ascendance up NFL draft boards continues.
ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay said he’s beginning to hear chatter than Morse — an Austin, Texas, native who started at center, right tackle and left tackle in his Tigers career — could wind up as a third-round pick.
“It wouldn’t shock me,” McShay said Friday during a conference call. “I’ve talked to guess that even think late second day, but I would say more likely early third day. Somewhere right in that middle-round range.”
McShay, like most draft analysts, didn’t have Morse projected to be drafted at all before or immediately after the season.
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Morse’s strong performance at the NFL Combine started to change those opinions.
“Mitch Morse, the more tape I watched, the more I kind of liked him,” McShay said. “He grew on me as a player.”
McShay lauded Morse’s versatility and said ESPN currently gives him a fourth-round grade, which would be an early-round pick on the third day of the draft.
“I think his pass protection is really solid,” McShay said. “He’s got in zone-fit, zone blocking scheme fit at the next level. He’s really strong in the upper body. His hand placement improved throughout his career and really (showed) good awareness and toughness, too.”
Morse had the second most reps among all offensive lineman in the 225-pound bench press (36) at the NFL Combine.
He also posted the third-fastest 20-yard shuttle (4.50 seconds), tied for the fourth-longest broad jump (9-feet-4), had the seventh-best three-cone drill (7.60 seconds) as well as the eight-highest vertical (31 inches) and eighth-fastest 40-yard dash (5.14).
“For a guy who’s known for overanalyzing things and overthinking things and allowing that to cause him stress, I thought honestly I was kind of relaxed and cool the whole time,” Morse said of the key to his success at Lucas Oil Stadium in late February. “I went in thinking it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’d never have the opportunity to do again. Taking that approach really help me out.”