NY Jets Optimistic Roster Breakdown: QB James Morgan
By Justin Fried
For the sake of positivity, let’s take a look at an optimistic outlook for NY Jets’ quarterback James Morgan.
The NY Jets‘ selection of FIU quarterback James Morgan in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft had many rolling their eyes and scratching their heads.
It certainly wasn’t a pick most expected the team to make — especially so early in the draft — but general manager Joe Douglas clearly fell in love with the high-character signal-caller from Green Bay.
Morgan is no doubt an intriguing prospect. Aside from his character, Morgan has a strong arm and is an intelligent quarterback who projects as one of the better developmental QB’s from this past draft class.
The fit is questionable, but Douglas evidently sees Morgan as the long-term backup behind Sam Darnold. And as the former Philadelphia Eagles’ executive has learned throughout his career, it never hurts to have a capable backup.
At the same time, the Jets don’t expect — or at least they don’t hope for — Morgan to contribute anytime soon or ever for that matter. He’s here as an insurance policy and nothing more.
With that being said, what would a successful season look like for the fourth-round quarterback? How could 2020 be a success for James Morgan?
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We continue our optimistic outlook series by breaking down what must go right for Morgan this season.
How James Morgan could find success with the NY Jets in 2020
Considering the fact that in a perfect world Morgan doesn’t play in 2020, we’re going to skip the stats portion of this piece. After all, there is no optimistic scenario in which Morgan even sees the field this year.
But that doesn’t mean certain things don’t have to go his way in order to make his rookie season a success.
First and foremost, his initial challenge will be competing with the incumbent David Fales for the third-string quarterback job. Morgan should have the edge given his draft status, but the Jets might feel that he’s not ready for NFL snaps just yet.
This is important considering that newly-signed backup quarterback Joe Flacco isn’t expected to be ready for at least the first week or two of the NFL season — assuming it starts on time.
And if that’s the case, the “third-string” would serve as the team’s backup at least until Flacco returns. That’s one injury away from playing in an NFL game.
Morgan still has glaring flaws that could prevent the team from giving him that opportunity right out of the gate.
But we’re speaking optimistically here. So in this case, Morgan proves in training camp and the preseason that he’s ready to take snaps in a pinch and beats out Fales for that third-string job. As a result, the Jets likely release Fales before the start of the season.
Morgan must show improvements in both his decision-making and ball placement for this to happen. Fales is a replacement-level player at best, but teams are often reluctant to throw rookies into the fray if they don’t believe they’re ready.
Morgan must prove to the Jets that he’s ready to at least be a backup.
Now, Flacco will serve as the Jets’ primary backup this season, that’s already a guarantee. But if Morgan can continue his development and show the Jets that he’s ready to take the next step, it’s feasible to see him assume the top backup role by 2021.
That’s probably a best-case scenario for Morgan. He isn’t going to see playing time in 2020 barring injury. He probably isn’t even going to be in consideration for the backup role.
Rather, if he could beat out Fales eliminating the necessity to have him on the roster, it could convince the Jets’ front office to hand over the reins to the backup role by next season — something they’ll be very willing to do.
After all, you don’t spend a fourth-round pick on a player who you see as nothing more than a third-stringer.
Morgan’s biggest obstacle will come with the limited opportunities he’ll have to showcase his talent. The absence of minicamp is already an issue and the NFL is considering shaving off two preseason games as well.
Fewer opportunities mean fewer chances to pass Fales on the depth chart.
But if he can beat out Fales and establish himself as the backup of the future, 2020 will be a success for James Morgan.