James Morgan
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

Can James Morgan be Sam Darnold‘s long-term backup? Sam Crnic breaks down Morgan’s NCAA All-22 film at Florida International.

2020 Jets draft class film breakdowns:

Missing three games in each of his first two seasons, Sam Darnold needs a quality backup better than the likes of Luke Falk. Joe Douglas addressed this with Joe Flacco, the Super Bowl 47 MVP. Given this signing was more of a short-term option, the New York Jets looked to find a long-term backup for Darnold in the draft, someone who can compete with the franchise quarterback on a daily basis in practice.

Douglas’ man for the job: James Morgan.

  • Hometown: Green Bay, WI
  • High School: Ashwaubenon High School (WI)
  • Position: QB
  • School: Florida International
  • Height: 6’4
  • Weight: 229 lbs

A transfer from Bowling Green to Florida International after his redshirt sophomore season, James Morgan is an intriguing prospect at QB for the Jets. Growing up down the street from Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Morgan idolized former Jets’ Brett Farve during his youth. After earning his Pre-Law degree at Bowling Green, James found much more success on the field at Florida International. Achieving the third-most thrown TDs (40) and yards (5,287) in school history, the Wisconsin native soon found himself as an NFL prospect.

Joining a crowded QB room with a mixture of veteran and young talent, Morgan is just looking to get to work:

“My whole goal at this point is to make the team… and it’s one step at a time and that’s just how my mentality is,” Morgan said, via the Jets official website. “I’m not worried about (the) long-term right now. I think my main focus is to do everything that I can control and to be as valuable as I can to the organization. It’s just one step at a time, let the pieces fall as they may. But yeah, my whole objective right now is to help the New York Jets win some games.”


Off the snap, Morgan maintains a quiet upper-body with enough body posture on the drop-back. Instead of keeping his eyes on the first man, he quickly progresses to his No. 2 (left end of the field), who speeds past his man. Slightly drifting to the left in the process, James doesn’t panic off the sight of pressure. Instead, he delivers a beautiful strike over the top to his wide receiver, an easy touchdown. Unfortunately, the receiver fails to hang on, bobbling it out of bounds.

A Rex Ryan special: Cover 0 from Miami. This means zero deep safeties with man-to-man coverage across the board. The right side of the offensive line is the true hero here. Even with Rousseau coming off the 4i-tech and a numbers advantage for Miami, Morgan has ample time to drift right, which causes a crucial mistake in the man coverage. In an attempt to cut off the dig route (Z-WR) for 25, Morgan finds the slot receiver for the easy TD.

With his defender playing inside, the slot WR has room to work with near the sideline for the out route. In the process, he gets caught up with the Z-WR which ruins the timing and rhythm of Morgan’s throw. While this was a clear overthrow, timing is everything to complete a pass like this.

With a clean pocket, Morgan unleashes the potential of his arm strength to connect with his man down the right sideline. Utilizing a wide-enough base to generate torque and power through his lower half, he puts the ball in a good enough spot for his WR to come down with it. Even though this was a completion, James lofts this ball more than would be ideal, giving the DB a chance to catch up to the WR.

With a glimpse at Morgan’s usage of anticipation and progressions, He zips it to his WR running a comeback route towards the left sideline. Off the snap, Morgan’s primary is on the right side of the field, where he soon realizes nobody is open. From there, he progresses to the left side, where he sees a potential opening on the comeback. Before the WR can fully turn his head around, Morgan brings the heat with perfect location; only where his man can grab it.

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