Tanner Morgan NFL draft

Golden Gophers’ experience on offense a big plus for Tanner Morgan’s draft stock

June 24, 2020

Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan is an interesting evaluation at this point in the 2021 NFL draft cycle. Depending on who you read or which podcast you listen to, Morgan hovers either just inside (or outside) the top five quarterbacks entering the 2020 season. There are concerns over his arm strength and, let’s face it, he doesn’t possess any particular ‘wow’ trait.

But that doesn’t mean he isn’t an appealing prospect. Quite the contrary, actually. Morgan is a heady signal-caller who has a good command of the pocket and an ability to side-step rushers and target open receivers. He has the mental processing teams will covet, even if he doesn’t physically profile as a high-round pick.

Few quarterbacks should enjoy a more productive season than Morgan in 2020, however. A big reason for his expected box score success is the amount of experience that’s returning to the Golden Gophers’ offense. Nine of its 11 starters will be back this fall, albeit with a new offensive coordinator.

“The experience is huge, and our offensive unit and our team has played a lot of football at a high level,” Morgan said via the Star Tribune. “It’s very fortunate that that is something that we have and I’m blessed that I have been able to play a decent amount of football. It definitely helps. But again, there’s always ways that we can get better.

“So just because we have played football for a while or have the experience doesn’t mean we can get complacent. But it definitely helps, it definitely helps the developmental process. Again, we have to continue to strive for perfection knowing we’re not going to get there, but ways we can get better, looking forward and not backward.”

Morgan’s appeared in 22 games over the last two seasons, including 13 starts last year. He completed 66% of his passes for 3,253 yards, 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions in what was a breakout season for him in 2019.

The 2021 NFL draft will be headlined by quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) and Justin Fields (Ohio State). North Dakota State’s Trey Lance is the favorite to be QB3 at this point, but from there it’s wide open. Iowa State’s Brock Purdy and Georgia’s Jamie Newman are the two passers most often clustered with Morgan in the race for the top five at the position.

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