The NFL Combine is commonly compared to a meat market, with NFL scouts, coaches and executives measuring, inspecting, poking and prodding the prospects for the NFL Draft.
The combine is not happening this year, but players are still being put through the paces on schools’ campuses at pro days.
At Pitt’s pro day at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side on Wednesday, the usual meat markets sights and sounds could be seen.
There were lithe athletes like safety Damar Hamlin racing through athletic drills, powerful jumpers like cornerback Jason Pinnock reaching to the sky and weightlifting fiends like Jaylen Twyman crushing the bench press rack.
And then there are some less impressive feats.
Not to take anything away from the athletic accomplishments of Pitt’s Division-I athletes, but a pocket quarterback’s broad jump or an offensive lineman running the 40-yard dash is usually a somewhat unimpressive sight.
Pitt center Jimmy Morrissey was one of those offensive linemen running the 40 on Wednesday and he put his own stamp on the drill by running it shirtless — a bold step for a lineman that had just weighed in at 303 pounds.
Morrissey said he wasn’t trying to get eke an extra hundredth of a second out of his time, but that he as just trying to be comfortable.
“I knew someone was going to mess with me about that,” Morrissey said with a smile. “I worked out in Pensacola, Florida, so every time I was working out outside, I always had my shirt off. I ran in my compression (shorts), so I was like, I’m going to play how I practice. That’s why I did that for the 40.”
As far as worrying about the exact time, Morrissey said that as a lineman, it was something that he worked on, because it’s a part of the process, but he admitted that he’s not about to try to improve on the 5.3-second time he put down.
“I probably will never run a 40 again in my life,” Morrissey said. “I hope that the 10-yard split means more, because I think my 10-yard split was more impressive than my overall 40.
Morrissey said his 10-yard split was 1.68 seconds, which is impressive. That would have been the best 10-yard split for a lineman at the combine last year, just better than Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, who ran a 1.69 split on the way to a 4.85 40 time and the No. 13 overall pick in the draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Morrissey also posted a 31-inch vertical jump and a 4.46 short shuttle, both showing off his athleticism.
“It was pretty explosive for an offensive lineman,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said. “His vertical was maybe higher than some of the skill guys that were there. That’s impressive.”
Morrissey is very experienced as a four-year starter for Pitt, was a leader of the team and has been acknowledged for his work in the classroom as well as on the field. He’s got a lot going for him as he heads into the NFL, and it’s easy to tell that he hopes the NFL teams place more emphasis on that than the results of his jaunt down the field on Wednesday.
“I’m glad it’s over with,” he said. “I’m ready to train for football.”
MORRISSEY PRO DAY FILE
📏 6-foot-3 1/4, 303 pounds, 10-inch hands, 32 1/8-inch arms, 78 5/8-inch wingspan
🦘31-inch vertical jump; 8-foot, 9-inch broad jump
🏃♂️ 5.30 40-yard dash, 4.46-second short shuttle, 7.48 three-cone drill
🏋️♂️ 26 repetitions