Rookie Profile (Josh Morgan)

  Posted 9/2 by Jeff Tefertiller, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

Player: Josh Morgan

College: Virginia Tech

Drafted: 6th Round, 174th overall

2008 Production To Date

First game of career is upcoming.

Best Game To Date

First regular season game of career is in Week 1, but he did catch five passes for 114 yards and a score against the Green Bay Packers in the second preseason game.

Situation In 2008

Josh Morgan is competing to start for the San Francisco 49ers. He has played at a very high level since joining the team in the offseason. Morgan made plays in training camp, but really emerged in the preseason games with Bryant Johnson out with an injury. The major concern is the uncertainty at the quarterback position. Even in a Mike Martz offense, there will be some tough games due merely to the play of the inconsistent San Francisco passers. J. T. O'Sullivan is a prototypical journeyman NFL quarterback. He has been given many chances but never really put it all together outside of the NFL Europe. His knowledge of the Martz system is key for the 49er receivers. Morgan is a player that will be much better by midseason than week one. There is a good chance that Bryant Johnson will be injured AGAIN by then.

Long-term Situation

With the age of Isaac Bruce along with injuries and the inconsistency of Bryant Johnson, Morgan should be be entrenched as the long-term starter as early as the end of the season. Even by 2009, the starting pass catchers for the 49ers could be different. Bruce is at the end of his career and Johnson needs to prove he can be effective. Josh Morgan has a great combination of size and athletic ability to make big plays in the Mike Martz offense. In the next couple of years, the starting receivers for the team could be Morgan and Jason Hill, with Arnaz Battle in the slot. Both Morgan and Hill offer size and athleticism which will be an asset in the open spaces created by the Martz offense.

Potential Upside

Morgan has the skills to be a legitimate WR1 in the NFL if he can continue to develop. He has the ability to get open, but often disappears in games. Josh Morgan needs to be more consistent. He was a tease in college and consistency is a must in the NFL. We all know that the Mike Martz offense can help the production of wide receivers. Morgan has the ability to have a rookie season similar to that of Greg Jennings or Santonio Holmes. For those in dynasty leagues, the former Hokie can be the next Jerricho Cotchery or even Lee Evans, if not Top 15. Yes, he makes big plays like these two wideouts. Fantasy owners should expect the former Virginia Tech star to be more refined as the season rolls along. Most underestimate Josh Morgan's college stats because of the Virginia Tech offense did not throw often or efficiently. In addition, fellow up and coming rookie, Eddie Royal, was on that team. This unknown about Morgan led to him slipping in fantasy drafts. But, anyone who watched Morgan play in the preseason game versus the Packers saw a receiver who has the skills to be a top pass catcher for a long time.

College Profile from NFL.com

Positives: Has a long frame with a tight midsection, good arm length and very large, soft hands...Does a good job of using his body torque to get to off-target tosses...Knows how to use his body to shield the ball from defenders...Gets good elevation and body twist going up to compete for throws at the high point...When he runs with his pads down, he has more than enough acceleration to gobble up the defender's cushion...Long strider who needs room to build speed, but is good at locating and settling in the zone's soft spots...Lacks consistency, but has shown flashes of using proper balance and body control on his cuts, especially when he drops his weight to accelerate...Works back to the ball well when the quarterback is pressured and, while he doesn't do it often, he can adjust his speed to conform with his route's progression...Gets better separation in the open, as he is more comfortable accelerating when not in close areas...Has the speed to get deep in a flash, but is more apt to run straight-line routes than to get fancy with his feet...Has the ability to track the ball over his head without breaking stride...Will battle for the ball in traffic, showing no flinch when having to go vertical with defenders zeroing in on him...Has good balance keeping his feet when working along the sidelines.

Negatives: Has long limbs, but a small bubble and just adequate muscle thickness in his lower body...Gives marginal effort as a blocker, showing no desire to extend his arms to lock on and sustain the blocker...Will simply coast to his block point and takes poor angles when asked to cut block second-level defenders...Causes distractions in the huddle when he feels he is not getting the ball thrown to him enough...Needs to improve his maturity both on and off the field...Not the most punctual sort you will find and needs to be monitored more than the rest of the team...Struggles in the classroom and shows just adequate field intelligence (will run into spots and throttles down when not involved in the action)...Has very good timed speed, but it fails to translate to the field, as he tends to take a rolling start off the snap rather than explode into his routes...Despite his good strength, he does not use his hands to defeat the press and power through defenders to get into his routes...Likes to run with his head down, resulting in drops of several catchable balls, as he often looks surprised when the ball gets there...Needs to show better precision getting in and out of his cuts...Has the acceleration to separate in the open, but due to his "lazy feet," he does not get to the intermediate throws as quick as he should...Goes through long stretches of ball concentration lapses (24 passes intended for Morgan hit the ground in 2007)...Lacks the hip wiggle, head fakes and double moves to elude the defender, relying more on his burst, when he chooses to use it, or will revert to attempting to run over the defender...Poor locker-room presence and needs to understand that football is a team concept.

The NFL.com profile was provided and copyrighted by NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange.

Keep An Eye On

Matt Flynn

Flynn played well in preseason. The rookie from LSU played better than fellow first-year passer, Brian Brohm. With the Packers only having Aaron Rodgers with a defined role at the quarterback position, there is room for Flynn to pass Brohm for the primary backup job. In addition, given Rodgers' injury history, there is a good chance another Packer is under center for a few games in 2008. This means that fantasy owners could be rewarded this season for picking up Flynn now. Yes, many leagues do not offer enough roster space to acquire Flynn at this time, but keep a close eye on the Packer quarterback situation. With the receivers on the team, the starting quarterback could be a viable fantasy producer this season.