Stephen Morris completed 10 of his 18 passes during the 2014 Senior Bowl, which isn’t great, but it’s certainly not crippling either. However, all the scouts will likely remember are his two interceptions.
The bad news for the former Miami quarterback is his stock for the upcoming NFL draft wasn't exactly at a Teddy Bridgewater level heading into the Senior Bowl. He missed a golden opportunity to showcase to NFL teams just what he is capable of while playing with elite talent.
It would almost be appropriate to view Morris’ up-and-down Senior Bowl performance as something of a metaphor for his entire career. He arrived at Miami as a generally unheralded 3-star prospect (per Scout.com) and the 61st-ranked quarterback in his class alone.
However, he earned significant playing time in the second half of his freshman season and had moments where it looked like he was putting it all together early. Yet, he was never able to lead the Hurricanes to a season that included fewer than four losses, including in the senior campaign he just finished up.
If anything, the Morris era at Miami will be defined by the NCAA sanctions the program had to deal with, which were of course no fault of his own.
Morris finished his career with 7,896 passing yards and 49 touchdowns. His best season from an individual standpoint was his junior year (3,345 yards passing and 21 touchdown passes), but interceptions and mistakes often cost him and the Hurricanes at the biggest moments.
He was robbed of a chance to play in the ACC Championship Game and a bowl game as a junior because of self-imposed sanctions, but he struggled mightily in the Russell Athletic Bowl against Bridgewater and Louisville this year. Miami was also sitting pretty at 7-0 as a dark horse in the national championship picture before it lost three November games in a row.
That’s why the Senior Bowl was so important to Morris’ tenuous draft stock. He had moments of brilliance as a collegiate quarterback but never did enough to shine on the big stage and wow scouts. He also dealt with injuries during much of his time at Miami.
Heading into the Senior Bowl, Morris was more than comfortable putting his reputation as a draft prospect on the line (per Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel):
Watch me now. Watch what I'm doing now. This is the first time I've been healthy in a long time. I never use injuries as an excuse. When they happen you just have to play with it. But for all those people saying [I'm inconsistent] just watch me now.
Those comments would have looked great had he performed at a consistent level during the Senior Bowl. However, 89 yards and two interceptions behind less than five yards a completion and zero touchdowns aren’t going to cut it for someone who was a question mark heading into the process.
Doug Lancy of NFLDraft101.com was not impressed with how Morris stacked up against the other quarterbacks there:
Kelly of the Sun Sentinel summarized the good and the bad that would come with drafting Morris:
Stephen Morris can deliver a 15-yard out-route on a rope, and float a catchable pass 40-yards downfield as if the football were inflated with helium.
The 36-game starter at the University of Miami throws a football as well as any quarterback in the 2014 draft class. Problem is his accuracy isn't always sharp.
His consistency is lacking, and for Morris to meet his football potential he'll need to straighten out those issues.
Unfortunately for Morris, he didn’t straighten those issues out during the Senior Bowl.
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