Academic Standout Sunday: Jimmy Morrissey, C, Pittsburgh

It is with great pleasure that the DraftRite team brings you a new series, dropping every week, entitled Academic Standout Sunday. Every Sunday, new DraftRite writer Mike O’Brien will be bringing you a prospect breakdown for players who not only excel on the field but also in the classroom.

“Why?” one might ask. “Who cares about grades?”

To put it simply, players who excel in their academic endeavors deserve to be commended for being outstanding players, students, and people. Some of the NFL’s most dominant football players are well read and versed off the field. The star examples of this would be Andrew Luck, Richard Sherman, and Ryan Fitzpatrick who all found success in the league that can partially be attributed to their mental prowess.

This week, we take a close look at Pittsburgh center Jimmy Morrissey, who not only earned his degree in Finance & Marketing, but also made the All-ACC Academic team four times throughout his tenure at Pitt. Morrissey walked onto the Panther football team and later became a captain. He is a member of the prestigious Blue-Gold society where he serves as a liaison between the student community and the Alumni Association. The Huntington Valley product is currently enrolled in Pitt’s Katz Graduate School of Business as well.

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WHAT MORRISSEY BRINGS TO THE TABLE:

1. A CHIP ON HIS SHOULDER

Football is a game of adversity. There are often players who continue to prove themselves as willing to do more to succeed. Baker Mayfield was highly touted for his confidence and ability to overcome adversity, walking onto two division one football programs before finally starting and becoming the No. 1 overall pick in 2018. Morrissey had little to no Div. 1 attention coming out of high school and worked his way to becoming a captain, starting four years for the Panthers. There’s something to be said about his commitment and it is apparent on film. He is constantly helping his teammates get back on their feet after each play.

2. REFINEMENT

Morrissey is a guy who wins with technicality. He possesses great ability with his hands, where he can land them consistently and be precise. The grip strength is much better than people would like to give him credit for and when things do get a bit sloppy, he does a really nice job of readjusting to win the rep. Works really well in small spaces and can posture up his opponent, keeping a nice wide base. In open space he can take good angles, which is something that pops out more in his 2020 tape. Overall, he absorbs contact very well and plays a developed game spurred from 4 years of experience.

3. POTENTIAL

While Morrissey is widely viewed to be more of a finished product type of prospect, there is some serious potential for him to become a stronger player at the next level. His measurables from high school and college are nearly identical which indicates that A) Pitt doesn’t update their website once players are enrolled or B) Morrissey went his entire collegiate career without making any noticeable gains. If you look at his frame it is clear that there is room to add mass, which would be ideal if he plans at staying at center in the NFL.

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WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE:

Truly, his biggest weakness lies within his natural explosiveness. There are plenty of examples on film where he finishes reps with defenders on the ground but it usually is a long term win rather than an explosive first contact type of rep in the run game. He is a relatively strong kid but often it is clear that he is winning reps because of his technique and the when the technique fails it can cause issues. To be specific, there is a body element to his game that could put him over the top if he were to fix it. Both technical and physical boxes need to be checked to be a top tier prospect. Fortunately, it seems that there is potential for him to grow and become more physically dominant.

PROJECTION:

The ceiling is a long time starter in the league. He has some redeeming qualities as a player and a person. His floor would be a rotational backup who can plug in and play guard or center for a team dealing with injury. Morrisey has some serious potential as a day 3 prospect with the tools to be a great pro.

You can find Mike O’Brien @MOBrienNFL on Twitter.

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