The 2023 NFL Draft is the best opportunity for teams to bolster their roster and continue their journey to a Super Bowl. As we’ve seen throughout the 2022-2023 NFL season, even Mr. Irrelevent can change a franchise’s fate. Brock Purdy’s emergence in San Francisco will have scouts across the NFL looking for the next overlooked veteran collegiate passer who could make an impact at the next level. Could that be Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan?
We saw the Golden Gophers’ quarterback play from 2018 through 2022, finishing as the school’s No. 1 or No. 2 passer in every major statistical category. With Morgan set to play at the 2023 East-West Shrine Bowl, we’re breaking down Morgan’s NFL draft profile.
Let’s dive into what makes Morgan an intriguing draft prospect and his strengths and weaknesses on the field.
Tanner Morgan NFL Draft Profile
- Position: QB
- School: Minnesota
- Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height/Weight: 6’2″, 215 pounds
Morgan used all six years of his eligibility at Minnesota, including taking advantage of his ability to return in 2022 due to the COVID protocols that granted super-senior status. Despite his time spent in school, Morgan will turn just 24 on April 17. He played in 51 games, starting 47, and finishing second in school history with 9,454 yards and 65 touchdown passes.
Morgan peaked as a sophomore statistically, completing 66% of his passes for 3,253 yards, and 30 touchdowns. It was the only season he had more than 10 passing scores. Morgan took full advantage of having the star-receiving duo of Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman that season, but he couldn’t recreate the magic in 2020 with just Bateman.
Morgan left the program with a 33-14 record. His 2022 campaign was cut short by three games due to a concussion, but otherwise, he was an ironman throughout his career.
Tanner Morgan Scouting Report
- An experienced player who proved to be functional and efficient in both a vertical passing game (in 2019) and more run-heavy approaches with lesser receiving talent around him.
- Strong enough arm to hit intended targets in stride over the middle of the field with tight passing windows. Morgan can push the ball downfield and force defenses to respect deep targets off play-action.
- He keeps his eyes up as defenders crash around his feet and apply pressure.
- Sells play-action effectively and resets his feet quickly enough to get rid of the ball when a passing window is closing or a defender is near.
- Has consistent mechanics, taking short dropbacks that allow him to step up in the pocket without compromising the depth that blockers must get to. Shoulders and feet are aligned, allowing him to create consistent velocity.
- Shows enough athleticism to move around and outside of the pocket if he absolutely must.
- Accurate passer on short and intermediate attempts while in structure and in rhythm. This gives him a good foundation and floor to work with.
Areas of Improvement
- Capable of moving but is far from a special athlete. He’s most comfortable within the pocket and doesn’t want to move much. Morgan’s lack of creative ability and willingness to extend plays can limit his ceiling.
- Has a good arm but not great by NFL standards. He wins with pre-snap reads, timing, and understanding leverage. The margin for error will shrink with NFL passing windows. He can’t afford late throws.
- He’ll only produce as well as the talent around him allows. Morgan’s lack of dynamic traits makes him more suited for a backup role.
- Though he doesn’t flinch while under pressure, he struggles to buy time when there’s traffic around him. This leads to inaccurate passes because his pocket management doesn’t create more of a throwing lane.
- Forcing him off his first read can cause hesitation as he scans the field, and he lacks the pocket presence to feel when rushers are closing in. The vast majority of his negative plays came when the initial action wasn’t available.
Minnesota QB Tanner Morgan Current Draft Projection
Morgan shares a few things in common with Purdy. He was somewhat a victim of the NCAA’s rule that athletes can’t declare for the NFL draft until after their third season, which forced Morgan to return to Minnesota after his breakout sophomore season.
Had he been able to go to the NFL at that point, he might be more talked about since it seems like he was a forgotten man after his surrounding cast continued to get weaker over the next three years.
Both players are fine but not special athletes, with Purdy getting the nod for being more mobile. However, Morgan has an NFL-caliber arm and accuracy, a baseline ability to play within a structure, and valuable experience against a multitude of teams. There have been worse quarterbacks than Morgan who have carved out backup roles for years.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
Getting Morgan into a zone-blocking or West Coast scheme that helps him have quick, clear reads can maximize his ability to contribute if he has to see the field. Though he doesn’t perform well enough under pressure and can’t compensate with high-end physical traits, his clean mechanics and field vision help overcome his limitations.
Morgan should be considered a late Day 3 pick for a team looking to upgrade their second or third quarterback role.
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