Atlanta Falcons 2016 NFL scouting report: LB Antonio Morrison
One of the true advantages of having Dan Quinn’s 4-3 “under” defensive scheme is the versatility that is required for the scheme to be effective. In particular at the linebacker position, the scheme can utilize linebackers with size or linebackers on the smallish size but oozes athleticism.
This 2016 draft class has a number of prospects that fits both descriptions and one of the more talented ones is Florida LB Antonio Morrison. Let’s take a look at the breakdown of Morrison.
LB Antonio Morrison, Florida
Weight: 225 lbs
2015 stats: 96 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks
Strengths: Speed, speed, speed. Just on pure athleticism alone, Morrison is one of the best at the linebacker position. Sideline to sideline defender with plenty of fluidity in his hips. Good tackler and can become a great tackler over time.
His read and react skills are sudden, able to read the play and attack before blockers can get to him. Getting caught in traffic is not as much of an issue as you think. When coming on the blitz, able to get to his destination in a flash. Very productive player with 287 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, one INT, three forced fumbles in his four seasons in Gainesville.
Beginning at the 2:12 mark, perfect example of the burst and athleticism. Morrison coming on a blitz five yards from the LOS and maintains discipline and fluidity to ultimately bring down the QB.
Weaknesses: Probably his biggest flaw is his size. At 225 lbs, he’s an easy target for pulling guards and tackles who get to the next level. Don’t mistake him for a stack-and-shed LB such as Ragland. In order to defeat blocks, Morrison will more than likely have to run around them, which at times would take himself out of the play. He needs some polish on his pass coverage skills and he doesn’t have ball skills. Play action has shown occasions of sucking him in very well.
Outlook: Pretty much the same issues/red flags that Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner had, Morrison has them now. The size limitations, the engaging/disengaging blocks, etc. However, Wagner has carved out a nice niche in the NFL. Morrison can do the exact same.
Of course, we all know that Wagner has ties to Quinn but here’s a little nugget of interest: In Morrison’s 2012 freshman year in Gainesville, care to guess who was his defensive coordinator? That’s right, Dan Quinn.
Next: Atlanta Falcons: Reggie Ragland draft profile
While Morrison is technically smaller than MLB Paul Worrilow, Morrison blows him out of the water in terms of comparing athleticism. Don’t let the size fool you, Morrison can play and would be a welcoming addition to the Atlanta Falcons defense.