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Broncos roster review: offensive lineman Patrick Morris

Can the fourth-year OL win a job on the Broncos’ roster?

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Patrick Morris is entering his 4th season in the NFL, and 3rd with the Denver Broncos. Can he make the Broncos’ final 53-man roster?

Patrick Morris

Offensive Line #50
Experience: 3 years

Height: 6’3
Weight: 300
Age: 26
College: TCU

Patrick Morris enjoyed a successful five-year career playing for TCU. The #33 ranked guard recruit in the state of Texas, Morris stayed in-state to play for the Horned Frogs. While there, Morris saw action in 34 games while in the purple and white. Morris was named as a First-Team All-Academic Big 12 three times. Morris also earned a spot on Bruce Feldman’s “Freak” list in 2016. From Feldman’s list:

The 6-3, 300-pound junior guard made First-Team Academic All-Big 12 last year and had a 3.6 GPA. He’s the latest strongman to come through the Horned Frogs program. Morris has a 500-pound bench, a 720-pound squat and cleans 450. “We always stop whatever we’re doing when he’s about to lift,” said TCU senior DE Josh Carraway.

At the end of his TCU career, Morris went undrafted following the 2018 NFL Draft, signing as an undrafted free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Most of his time in Pittsburgh was on their practice squad, working under OL coach Mike Munchak. Morris did serve as a backup center option in 2019 while Maurkice Pouncey was suspended but only spent two weeks there before being sent to waivers, where the Broncos picked him up.

Soon after, Morris was thrown right into the fire, playing 37 snaps against the Detroit Lions in week 16. Morris took all of these snaps at left guard, filling in for Dalton Risner. Morris moved back to center and appeared poised to potentially start for Denver in last season, but the team drafted Lloyd Cushenberry III out of LSU in 2020. It was supposed to be a battle for the center job, but Cushenberry ended up playing every single offensive snap in 2020.

The Good

Patrick Morris is an excellent athlete as far as offensive linemen go. In pre-draft workouts at his pro day, Morris posted a Relative Athletic Score of 9.84.

Patrick Morris RAS
Kent Lee Platte @Mathbomb

To put that athleticism in perspective, that’s a faster 3-cone than Bradley Chubb, a faster shuttle than Jerry Jeudy, the same vertical as Courtland Sutton, and a longer broad jump than Garret Bolles and Quinn Meinerz.

The former Horned Frog has an important element for offensive line depth: positional versatility. Morris played at both left guard and center at TCU and in Denver. Having that ability to flex between two positions is important for depth purposes, and could be a factor that keeps him on the roster.

Obviously, Morris’s intelligence stands out. A three-time First-Team All-Academic player is no small feat, and IQ is important to have for a center. Centers are oftentimes the smartest players on the field (they have to be), and Morris is no exception. Alex Mack sums up the importance of intelligence for a center:

“It’s up to you, then, to get everyone on the offensive line organized. It’s important that you communicate, so your left tackle, left guard, right tackle, and right guard all know what’s going on. You make a call and make sure you get both sides of the line organized....when things spiral a little bit that you need to be able to communicate….. Because I’m the one organizing my guys, a lot of what I do is making sure I have the line and the quarterback on the same page.”

Patrick Morris has a good relationship with offensive line coach Mike Munchak, following him from Pittsburgh to Denver. Obviously, Munchak thought highly enough of Morris from their time at the Steelers to encourage his acquisition and immediate play for Denver. That’s a plus for Morris’s chances to make the Broncos’ final roster.

The Bad

There was a reason Patrick Morris went undrafted out of TCU, despite his athleticism and intelligence. Morris has dealt with numerous injuries in his career, including an injury in his final year at TCU. These injuries led to him only starting in 18 games of college. After all, the best ability for depth is availability and the injuries in the past certainly played a part.

To make matters worse, Morris is coming off of an injury. In week 8 against the Chargers, Morris suffered a bicep injury on a PAT that led to him being put on IR. That’s a significant chunk of games missed due to injuries, and that only hurts Morris’s chances at making the roster.

While Mike Munchak may like Morris, he has a tough competition to win if he wants to make the final roster. The Broncos added stud center Quinn Meinerz to compete with Lloyd Cushenberry III for the starting job. Whoever loses the job will subsequently be the backup center, and it’s hard to see Morris beating out either of them. Right guard seems firmly entrenched with Graham Glasgow and Netane Muti, so Morris’s last spot is at left guard behind Dalton Risner.

The problem is Morris would have to compete against fellow TCU alum Austin Schlottmann. Schlottmann has a significant leg up on Morris in this battle. Schlottmann has played for a significantly larger amount of snaps than Morris (672 vs 52). To make things worse for Morris, Schlottmann has much of the same positional versatility and is also a great athlete in his own right.

Austin Schlottmann RAS
Kent Lee Platte @MathBomb

Final Word

There is a lot to like about Patrick Morris’s potential and profile. On almost any other offensive line, Morris would likely have a spot locked up. Unfortunately, the Denver offensive line is talented and deep, which makes backup jobs difficult to win.

There are a lot of points in Morris’s favor. If Munchak leans into his relationship with Morris and Morris’s athletic advantage over Schlottmann, Morris likely has the left guard backup job secured.

It appears to be a battle of potential and upside (Morris) vs a known and experienced player (Schlottmann).

Poll

Does Patrick Morris earn a spot on the Broncos’ final 53?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Yes, at center
    (6 votes)
  • 25%
    Yes, at guard
    (50 votes)
  • 70%
    No
    (137 votes)
193 votes total Vote Now