The Patriots are looking extensively for a long term slot WR replacement for Danny Amendola. The good news is this year’s draft class presents many options for the Patriots to look at. One option that caught my eye early was Arkansas WR Drew Morgan. I first heard of him when he was carrying Arkansas’ offense to a double OT win over TCU. In that game he picked up 7 catches for 93 yards and a TD, but a lot of them resulted in moving the chains.
Morgan isn’t exceptionally fast, clocking in a 4.74 40 at the combine, but his game comes down to quickness and route running over speed. At the combine, Morgan put up a decent 4.12 5-10-5 shuttle and a 6.85 3-Cone. At his Pro Day, he improved those marks to 4.02 and 6.63 while recording a strong 1.53 10-split. Measuring a tick under 6’0” 190, Morgan’s size and quickness profile fits for the slot, where the Patriots are looking for their next big time slot WR.
Morgan comes from a Pro Style offense at Arkansas and a former teammate of pass rusher Trey Flowers. I do have questions about his ability to return punts, with only 7 career return attempts as a senior. In the last two seasons, Morgan has averaged about 60 catches for 800 yards. As a junior he caught 10 TD, but as a senior only 3. The lack of fantastic production that other slot WR prospects have in the draft could result in Morgan falling to the very end of the draft, even perhaps to priority free agent status.
Vs. TCU 2016
Patriots Fit: Morgan would be the backup slot WR in Day 1 to compete with Danny Amendola for the job. If he can’t win the job, he’s probably a practice squad candidate that the Patriots can develop. If the Patriots ever did sustain a run of injuries at the WR position, Morgan’s game is polished enough where he could keep the offense flowing somewhat. His limited roster fit works against him in Year 1 unless he shows he’s significantly better than the other options. Long term, he would be a quality fit for the slot where his quickness and route running skills are an asset and minimize his lack of vertical speed.
Pro Comp: Danny Amendola. Amendola was a slightly better athlete coming out of Texas Tech 9 years ago than Morgan, but their dependability outweighs their physical tools. Morgan wins with savvy and quickness instead of vertical speed. His value is limited with a QB who is inaccurate, which really limits his fit to about 5 teams out of 32. Morgan does his best work in the middle of the field and change of direction routes on the boundary. I see Morgan going in the 6th round of the draft this year.