Local Kid, Big Dreams: Zach Morton Joins Detroit Lions’ Quest for Success


Immediately after the NFL Draft concluded, the Detroit Lions signed Zach Morton, a promising pass rusher and graduate of Cass Tech High School, as an undrafted free agent. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound defensive end from Akron brings a wealth of potential to the Lions’ roster, but he faces an uphill battle to secure a spot on the 53-man squad.

As he embraces the Lions’ offseason training program, 24-year-old rookie Zach Morton’s journey back to Detroit epitomizes resilience, a quality that will undoubtedly shape his own quest for success.

A Journey Back Home

The signing of Zach Morton represents a homecoming for the talented athlete. After graduating from Cass Tech High School, he began his football journey at Syracuse University before transferring to Akron to use up his remaining eligibility. Despite facing setbacks due to injuries and limited playing time caused by a coaching staff overhaul, Morton persevered. He earned a starting role in his senior season and became a difference-maker whenever he was on the field.

Impressive College Performance

Morton, known for his ability to disrupt offenses, showcased his skills during the brief stint with the Akron Zips. Last season, he tallied 4.5 sacks, along with 28 tackles and 8 tackles for loss. Now, he aims to continue his development in hopes of becoming a disruptive presence off the edge for the Lions. However, he will likely need to make a strong impression on special teams to solidify his place on a team that is gaining recognition as an up-and-coming force in the NFL.

Explosive Athleticism

Morton’s athletic profile stands out, compensating for any lack of productivity over his career. Standing at an imposing six-foot-four, weighing 261 pounds, he possesses exceptional explosiveness and agility. Demonstrating a dynamic first step, evident in his 10-yard split time of 1.59 seconds, Morton excels at swiftly infiltrating opposing offensive lines. His outstanding performance in various athletic drills during his Pro Day leaves no doubt about his potential to develop into a productive pro.

Morton’s Pro Day results reveal his impressive athleticism:

  • Height: 6-4
  • Weight: 261 lbs.
  • Arms: 33 inches
  • Hands: 9 and one-half inches
  • 40-yard dash: 4.88 seconds
  • 10-yard split: 1.59 seconds
  • 20-yard split: 2.6 seconds
  • Shuttle: 4.47 seconds
  • Three-cone drill: 7.07 seconds
  • Vertical jump: 35.5 inches
  • Broad jump: 10 feet, one inch

A Chance for Development

Fortunately for Morton, the Detroit Lions have earned a reputation for nurturing and developing talent. Recent success stories, such as former Dolphins first-round pick Charles Harris and waiver wire claims John Cominsky and Isaiah Buggs, highlight the organization’s commitment to player growth. Practice squad call-up James Houston IV also made a significant impact last season, accumulating eight sacks in just seven games. Morton can draw inspiration from these success stories as he carves out his own path to success with the Lions.

Special Teams and Versatility

Morton’s most immediate opportunity to secure a spot on the roster or practice squad lies in his experience with special teams. Having blocked two kicks during his time at Akron, he brings valuable skills that could make a difference for the Lions. However, making the 53-man roster will be no easy feat. The resurgent Lions squad demands fierce competition, including contending against established players like Julian and/or Romeo Okwara. At 24 years old, Morton will need to demonstrate his versatility from the outset to prove his worth to the coaching staff.

As the Detroit Lions embark on a new season, the signing of Zach Morton represents a local talent returning home, driven to prove himself in the NFL. With his relentless pursuit of success, his versatility, and the Lions’ commitment to development, Morton has the potential to become a key contributor for the team.


For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21

Contact: Broder@woodwardsports.com

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Original Photo Credit: Zach Morton’s Twitter Profile: @zmorton_