Packers Interview Versatile Offensive Lineman

This under-the-radar prospect started at three positions and faced star pass rushers every day at practice and every week in the rugged SEC. Who is he? We have the answer in another Packer Report draft exclusive.

Mitch Morse is the personification of what the Green Bay Packers look for in an offensive linemen.

The Packers generally draft collegiate left tackles. Morse played left tackle as a senior.

The Packers, like all teams, covet versatility. Morse started games at center, right tackle and left tackle, and also played guard, at Missouri.

The Packers, like all teams, covet toughness. Morse didn’t miss a game with a broken finger.

Thus, it’s no surprise that the Packers had a formal interview with Morse at the Scouting Combine.

Morse was a three-year starter who was second-team all-SEC as a senior. Not only did he run the weekly gauntlet of elite SEC pass rushers, but he faced them every day at practice with the likes of Kony Ealy and Michael Sam and prized 2015 draft prospects Shane Ray and Markus Golden.

“I think in practice when you go against guys like this every day, you get down on yourself sometimes because you maybe had a bad rep or a bad practice, but you see the relative success you’ve had and sometimes in games things just click and it’s nice to see that,” said Morse, a solid Day 3 prospect. “I couldn’t put a time or set in stone that it happened, but it’s happened over the past year.”

About the only negative was the broken left index finger, sustained against Texas A&M on Nov. 15. Initially, he thought it was only jammed. After the game, he found out it was broken. He had surgery the next day, practiced on Tuesday and was back in the lineup the following Saturday against Tennessee with a “giant club” to protect the injury. He also played the next three games, including the bowl against Minnesota.

However, Morse had to skip the Senior Bowl, which pained Morse.

“It wasn’t feeling 100 percent at the time,” Morse said. “I had talked to Mr. (Phil) Savage (the Senior Bowl’s executive director), we had exchanged pleasantries. A very nice man, very understanding. I had told him that, ‘Listen, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. Don’t get me wrong.’ There’s no way I would not know that. And it was touching that he invited me and it was a blessing and it was really hard to turn down, but where I was physically I wasn’t able to participate at the level that I needed to to play with such competition at the Senior Bowl.”

Morse had a strong career despite never playing one position long enough to really set down roots. As a sophomore, he opened the season as the starting center, only to start the final three games at right tackle. He started all 14 games at right tackle as a junior. Then it was to left tackle as a senior.

At the time, being a man on the move wasn’t easy. In retrospect, it’s perfect training for the NFL. If he lands in Green Bay, perhaps he’d challenge for the starting job at right tackle if Bryan Bulaga were to depart in free agency. Or, if Bulaga re-signs, Morse would train in the utility role that is so crucial for teams, who usually only dress seven linemen on gameday.

“Honestly, this might be a cliché answer, but any position that I could contribute to a team immediately I’ll be fine with,” Morse said. “I really haven’t had more than a few months to practice at one position at times. So kind of a set-in-stone position would be nice to have.”

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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