Former Ashwaubenon quarterback James Morgan was drafted by the New York Jets in the fourth round (125th overall). Green Bay Press-Gazette
Quarterback James Morgan, a product of Ashwaubenon High School, impressed National Football League scouts at the 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl in January.
Those efforts paid off Saturday on Day 3 of the 2020 NFL draft.
Morgan, who started for two seasons at Florida International after starting out at Bowling Green, was taken in the fourth round by the New York Jets.
Morgan was the 19th pick of the round, the 125th selection overall and the seventh quarterback.
The 6-foot-4, 229-pounder completed 58.5% of his passes for 2,560 yards last season, with 14 touchdown and five interceptions. He passed for at least 250 yards in four of 13 games.
Morgan passed for 40 touchdowns in two seasons at FIU, the No. 2 mark in program history.
His path to FIU and the NFL wasn't exactly smooth.
Morgan passed for 7,000 yards and 70 touchdowns at Ashwaubenon and longed to play at Wisconsin. Then-head coach Gary Andersen was looking for more mobile quarterbacks, and Morgan committed to Bowling Green and coach Dino Babers in June of 2014.
Babers left for Syracuse after the 2015 season, however. Morgan, who redshirted in 2015, played for two seasons under head coach Mike Jinks before transferring to Florida International to play for Butch Davis.
"He is a pure pocket passer," Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network said during draft coverage Saturday. "He’s got good poise. He’s got awareness. And he showed up at the East-West Shrine game and was clearly the best quarterback in attendance."
Former UW center Tyler Biadasz, who won the Rimington Trophy last season, had to wait until the final pick of the fourth round, the 146th pick overall, to hear his name called. The wait might be worth it considering his new team is the Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas center Travis Frederick, who starred at UW, announced his retirement last month after six seasons in the league. Frederick was a first-round pick in 2013 and started from Day 1. He missed the ’18 season after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre’ syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease, but returned to the starting lineup last season.
Biadasz started all 41 games in his three seasons at UW and was a unanimous first-team All-American as a redshirt junior last season.
ESPN analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Louis Riddick analyzed why Biadasz lasted so long.
"If you look at Tyler Biadasz, some uneven performances," Kiper said during the telecast. "Mixed opinion was created because of that. … And then he started to slip down the draft board just a bit. …
"I think expecting him to be the automatic replacement for Travis Frederick is asking too much."
Riddick was more optimistic.
"This is the perfect kind of guy for the Dallas Cowboys and what they want to do offensively, meaning they want to be run-centric with (star tailback) Ezekiel Elliott," he said.
"And I’ll tell you this, Tyler Biadasz is one of those people if he can even out those uneven performances, he has the kind of physicality on the interior that Dallas likes to establish."
Biadasz was the 12th UW offensive lineman selected in the draft since 2011.
He joins a prestigious list of talent.
2011: Gabe Carimi (first round), John Moffitt (third) and Bill Nagy (seventh).
2012: Kevin Zeitler (first) and Peter Konz (second).
2013: Frederick (first) and Rick Wagner (fifth).
2015: Rob Havenstein (second).
2017: Ryan Ramczyk (first).
2019: Michael Deiter (third) and David Edwards (fifth).
Former Arrowhead High School standout Ben Bredeson, who started 46 games at left guard at Michigan, also was taken in the fourth round. Bredeson was the 37th player taken in the fourth round and the 143rd pick overall.
Former UW wide receiver Quintez Cephus, who like Biadasz left school with one season of eligibility remaining, was taken by Detroit with the 20th pick of the fifth round, the 166th pick overall. He was the 23rd wide receiver selected.
Cephus missed the 2018 season after being charged with two counts of sexual assault. He was acquitted of those charges last August, however, rejoined the team and caught 59 passes for 901 yards and seven touchdowns.
Cephus was timed at 4.73 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, a poor time for wide receivers, but improved that to 4.62 at UW's pro day.
Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah, who was selected by Detroit with the No. 3 pick, told reporters earlier this year the toughest wide receiver he faced this past season was Cephus.
"It doesn't matter what his 40 time was," Okudah said. "Football is played in between the lines and he's a technician, someone that I changed my plan up for every single week."
Indianapolis used the 14th pick of the sixth round, the 193rd pick overall, to select Penn State defensive tackle Robert Windsor, a graduate of Fond du Lac High School. Windsor started 26 games and played in 52 for the Nittany Lions.
Minnesota selected former Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley, a graduate of Menomonie High School, with the 30th pick of the seventh round, No. 244 overall.
Stanley started 39 games over his final three seasons and finished with 68 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and 8,302 passing yards.
Former UW inside linebacker Chris Orr, a second-team, all-BigTen pick as a senior, went undrafted but agreed to a free-agent deal with the Carolina Panthers. Orr recorded 11½ sacks in 2019, the most in program history by an inside linebacker.
Jordan Steckler, a graduate of Two Rivers High School who played both guard spots and right tackle at Northern Illinois, agreed to a free-agent deal with New Orleans.
Stanley's teammate at Iowa, linebacker Kristian Welch, agreed to a free-agent deal with the Baltimore Ravens. Welch is a graduate of Iola-Scandinavia High School.