Accuracy issues cloud Green Bay native QB James Morgan's draft outlook

Jim Owczarski
Packers News
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Team East quarterback James Morgan (12) looks to pass during the first quarter against Team West during the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 18.

First in a Packers Prospects series looking at players Green Bay could select in the April 23-25 NFL draft.

GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur made it clear they would not be afraid of drafting a quarterback in 2020, be it No. 30 overall or at any point in the draft. Green Bay native and Florida International alumnus James Morgan is not a first-round prospect, but his local ties and intriguing physical traits could entice the Packers later in the draft.

The 6-foot-4, 229-pound Ashwaubenon High School alumnus hopes to be the first Green Bay-area QB to be drafted since — guess what — the Packers took Green Bay West and Wisconsin alumnus Bud Keyes in 1988.

Age next season: 23.

Combine vitals: 9¾-inch hands, 4.89-second 40-yard dash, 7.51-second three-cone drill.

Stats: 14.5% of his catchable passes dropped in 2019, 90.7 intermediate throws grade, 57.6% career completion percentage.

Pro Football Focus analysis: His accuracy and decision-making never quite made the jump needed to become a premier quarterback. Over the last two seasons, Morgan’s accurate-plus pass rate (perfectly placed passes) on throws past the line of scrimmage was the seventh lowest and his turnover-worthy play rate ranked 115th.

Draftniks say: “He is my favorite late-round flier at the position. And my opinion of him only improved after seeing him throw live at Lucas Oil. Morgan has a live arm and the ball pops off his hand with velocity, displaying the accuracy and tempo that gave his targets a chance to catch the football during fieldwork. If I had room on my depth chart, Morgan would be a Day 3 target as an intriguing developmental passer.” — The Athletic draft analyst Dane Brugler.

“It's easy to tell that the Green Bay native favors quarterbacks like Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers when you watch his tape. Unfortunately, while he has similar zip to the Packer legends, he's nowhere near as accurate and lacks any semblance of touch. Morgan is very capable of making impressive throws to all areas of the field, but his violent release and inconsistent footwork hinder functional ball placement and accuracy. His lack of pocket mobility and instincts make him too easy for defensive coordinators to assault with a variety of blitz packages. He's a tough guy with a big arm and the 2018 tape is the one to watch, but QB3 may be his ceiling.” — draft analyst Lance Zierlein.

Quotable: “I’d say that there’s an unfair stigma with high school football athletes in Green Bay and Wisconsin in general, where you’re really under recruited. And so my advice to somebody who may be an aspiring athlete in high school that’s not getting the attention, just keep working. If you’re unusual because of how hard you work, if you aren’t hanging out with your friends and you’re getting crap because of it, because you’re doing your own thing and working hard, that’s not a bad thing. That’s the position I was in and I’m really happy it paid off.” — Morgan’s advice to long shot high school prospects from Green Bay.

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