Ludicrous? Perhaps. I mean it’s ludicrous to even be discussing next year’s NFL draft when we haven’t even played this year’s NFL or college season. What isn’t quite so ludicrous is to project Morris into that spot.
Certainly, next year’s NFL draft will provide a bumper crop of quality QBs. With names like Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Georgia’s Aaron Murray, North Carolina’s Bryn Renner, Alabama’s A.J. McCarron and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, it will most likely be the deepest draft for quarterbacks ever. However, any serious NFL scout would be remiss in neglecting Morris.
Let’s look at Morris’s stats from last season. He threw for 3,345 yards, had a 58 percent completion rate and he passed for 21 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. While experts will point out his inconsistent accuracy, it is important to note that that improved as the season went on, and he did not throw a single interception the last four and a half games of the year. He set school records in total offense, passing attempts and 400-plus-yard games in a season — at Quarterback U!
If Morris has a statistically-similar season, he should be in discussion as a first-round pick. The thing one needs to remember is that this kid has shown measurable improvement from his first start as a sophomore until now. There is every reason to believe his stats will be even better this coming season.
One reason is offensive coordinator James Coley, who is expected to keep Miami’s pass-oriented offense and turbo-charge it with the no-huddle and more downfield passes. With more opportunities to throw the ball, Morris could put up monster numbers. Moreover, Morris will be playing behind arguably the best offensive line in the country, the deepest receiving corps in the nation and a superstar running back in Duke Johnson. He has the system and the weapons.
Morris is also the type of quarterback NFL teams dream about. He is 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds. Not so small as to be an injury liability, and not so big as to be a lumbering oaf. On the contrary, Morris has run a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash and shows excellent mobility in and out of the pocket. Furthermore, one NFC scout said Morris will have the strongest arm out of all the quarterbacks in next year’s draft. A strong-armed, mobile quarterback with excellent pocket presence and familiarity with the pro-style offense? What NFL coach wouldn’t offer up his firstborn in exchange for that?
Recently, Morris participated in the Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana. To put it mildy, NFL scouts were floored by Morris’s performance. Morris won the skills competition, beating out 40 other college starters. After his outing, NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks said that Morris “might be the most talented college quarterback” and that he was “one of the best pure passers in the college game.” He went on to say that he “stood out above the rest of his peers.” Keep in mind that his “peers” at the same camp were Manziel, McCarron, Renner, Boyd, Murray and Bridgewater.
Let’s be honest. It is way too early to state definitively who the first quarterback will be chosen in the 2014 draft. A million things could happen between now and then. Morris could come down with chronic cholera. He could be arrested and sent to a Turkish prison. He could be abducted by aliens.
But if Morris continues his improvement and stays healthy, he could go from dark horse to front runner faster than you can say, “Go Canes!”