James Morris (ILB), Iowa
6’1” | 241 lbs.
106 tackles, 17 TFL, 7 sacks, 4 INT, 2 FF
What scouts are saying:
“A disciplined, football-smart, 4-3 Mike linebacker with the toughness, discipline and determination desired in a core special-teams player. Athletic limitations could force him to earn his way as a backup.” (Nolan Nawrocki, NFL.com)
“A three-star high school recruit, Morris committed to the Hawkeyes as a 200-pound linebacker and was thrown into action right away as a true freshman, quickly establishing himself as a team leader and bulking up in the weight room. He finished second on the team in tackles (106) as a senior in 2013 but led Iowa in tackles for loss (17.0), sacks (7.0) and interceptions (4), earning Second Team All-Big Ten honors. Morris has average size, speed and athletic traits but makes up for it with his relentless attitude and hustle to disrupt plays all over the field, including the backfield. His overaggressive style will get him in trouble at times, lacking the fluidity to easily recover, but he is smart and coachable with top intangibles.” (CBSSports.com)
"Solid size with good muscle definition. Works hard in the weight room. Adequate athleticism and range due to his hustle. Instinctive and trusts what he sees with little hesitation. See ball, get ball type. Physical tackler with timing, technique and sturdy hands to finish. Excellent between the hashes vs. the run and aggressively takes on blocks. Knifes his way through the line of scrimmage well to make a stop for loss. Hard-nosed and always at full go, playing hungry and relentless. Smart and alert with positive character traits on and off the field. Durable and tough, often playing through pain. Motivated individual with desire to get better and reach his full potential. Productive starting career (42 career starts) with three straight 100+ tackle seasons." (Dane Brugler, CBSSports.com)
Fit for Bears:
Phil Emery spent three of the Bears' six picks in last year's draft on linebackers. Two of those, Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene, saw significant playing time after the position was decimated by injuries. And because of those injuries, linebacker was one of the team's weakest positions in 2013. This year, veterans Lance Briggs and D.J. Williams return from injuries that knocked them out for much of last year's campaign, and Emery signed veteran linebacker Jordan Senn this offseason, as well. Still, with how poorly Bears linebackers performed a year ago, spending a late-round pick on linebacking depth such as Morris wouldn't be unexpected.