After the Pittsburgh Steelers selected seven players in the 2023 NFL draft, they continued adding to the roster by coming to terms with seven undrafted free agents. With many draft profiles focusing on those players towards the top and middle of the NFL draft, it is time to get to take a look at these other members of the Pittsburgh Steelers who will have just as much opportunity to make the roster in 2023 as those who were selected in the draft, despite the more difficult path.
Remember, some draft profiles for these players are quite harsh as they are looking at them as a draftable prospect. Taking a flyer on an UDFA is a completely different story as many times the potential the player shows is what lands them on an NFL offseason roster.
Next on the list is Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan.
6’2” 210 lbs
Playing five seasons in Minnesota, Tanner Morgan appeared in 51 game where he had 661 completions on 1,063 pass attempts for 9,454 yards with 65 touchdowns to 32 interceptions. Morgan’s top season came in 2019 where he passed for more than 3,253 yards and had 30 touchdowns to seven interceptions. In nine games in 2022, Tanner Morgan had 107 completions on 160 attempts for 1,382 yards with nine touchdowns and five interceptions.
Current Steelers at the position:
- Kenny Pickett
- Mitch Trubisky
- Tanner Morgan
Here was a breakdown of Morgan from thedraftnetwork.com:
Tanner Morgan NFL Draft Scouting Report
QB, Minnesota Golden Gophers
Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan projects as a potential career backup quarterback in the right system and in the right environment. He does not have top-end physical skills but has illustrated some likable qualities as a passer that help him to mask his low ceiling and play effectively with timing.
Originally a 3-star recruit, Morgan played his high school football at Ryle High School in Union, KY. He is a redshirt senior who committed to Minnesota as a part of their 2017 recruiting class and is the cousin of former No. 1 overall draft selection Tim Couch. Now ready to leave Minnesota, Morgan was a starter in 47 of 51 games he dressed for, setting the program record for wins (33) in the process. He re-wrote much of the program record books as a passer en route to being invited to the 2023 Shrine Bowl.
Morgan can be a pretty savvy passer, especially after building up so much sweat equity in the Minnesota system. He shows good control of his offense and an understanding of when and where to take his throws. He consistently makes good decisions in the RPO game to slot the ball behind scraping LBs and is capable of hurrying his process here to get the ball out clean through the mesh point. He’s willing to pull the trigger before his receivers are out of the top of their breaks, showing effective anticipation for spot throws to hit timing routes and ensure he’s keeping the offense on schedule. That said, he still finds room to play with a big-play mentality within the pocket. As a non-traits-based quarterback, the most important thing Morgan has illustrated is timing. He’s shown good chemistry and trust with his receivers, insinuating that he’s got the mental capacity for the pro level.
For all of Morgan’s mental toughness and anticipation, he doesn’t sport an overly notable arm. The ball doesn’t explode off his hand with pop and he’s forced to throw with anticipation out of necessity due to a lack of arm strength. Accuracy waxes and wanes as well, he made a number of talented receivers have to work hard for a lot of over-the-middle receptions, many of which came in high and over the rim in traffic. His accuracy seemed to dwindle as he tried to press it with more velocity—I wouldn’t classify him as an easy thrower. And while he’s got composure under duress, he’s not an athlete who will win outside the pocket with consistency and he lacks the twitch to break rush angles and create big plays with his legs, either. The physical limitations here are going to be difficult to overcome.
Expectations for Morgan should see him competing for a third quarterback spot on a roster. Most teams don’t carry a third, so I would look to see if Morgan is capable of claiming a practice squad spot as a rookie. Admittedly, he has plateaued as a quarterback while throwing to NFL receivers like Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman—he’ll need a strong performance in camp to command that level of commitment.
Top Reasons to Buy In:
Illustrates good anticipation on spot throws
Effective ball handling in the mesh point amid growth of RPOs in the pro game
Nifty mobility in the pocket to extend plays
Top Reasons For Concern:
Lacks standard physical qualities in nearly every measure
Accuracy wanes more and more the further downfield he attempts throws
Concerning plateau in production amid departures of NFL pass-catchers
Here is another evaluation from SI.com:
Tanner Morgan shows nuance and savvy passing in a QB-friendly system at Minnesota. With a heavy influence of RPOs, Morgan displays excellent timing on glance routes and regularly gets the ball out before a break is made. He has an easy projection to a “game manager” role in the NFL who can keep an offense on schedule, be pretty accurate at all three levels and keep the ball safe. Morgan shows flashes of making full-field reads and has quick processing abilities to cross off his initial reads and move on. In addition, he’s a solid athlete who loves to escape the pocket going to his right, but also shows good footwork to decelerate, gain balance and accurately throw on the run. Morgan is a relatively high-floor, low ceiling type of QB who has average at best arm strength. When attacking deep, he needs to really load up and that elongates his throwing process and negates an ability to get a throw off before a big hit. While he’s generally accurate at all three levels, he has a fair share of overthrows on deep balls, likely due to him overcompensating for average arm strength and now putting too much on the ball - it just doesn’t look easy for him. Since Morgan plays in a QB-friendly system with a huge reliance on the RPO game, he lacks nuance in regular 3, 5 or 7 step drops. Morgan does a poor job of using his eyes to deceive safeties and open up throwing windows and there are moments where he doesn’t see defenders entirely, gift-wrapping them an interception. Finally, Morgan is not great versus exterior pressure when he is forced to step up in the pocket or escape entirely due to a lack of agility and elusiveness. He struggles to speed up his throwing motion and get his hips pointed to his target. QB who excels at executing an RPO-heavy system due to timing and accuracy over the middle of the field. Can keep the offense on schedule and for the most part avoid turnover-worthy plays. Morgan has average at best arm strength who struggles to connect on deep balls and does a poor job to use his eyes and manipulate defenders to open up throwing windows. He can be a low-end starter if given great surroundings but should not be drafted until Day 3.
And here is one more from cbssports.com:
Tanner Morgan throws with touch and anticipation. He is a great leader and communicator with ample playing experience. Morgan is known to get jittery feet in the pocket but always keeps his eyes downfield. He has zero mobility and below-average ball placement.
Throws with touch and anticipation
Great leader and communicator with ample playing experience
Keeps his eyes downfield when pressured
Jittery feet in the pocket
Below-average ball placement
To finish off the breakdown of Tanner Morgan, no evaluation is complete without film.