The University of Miami’s Stephen Morris isn’t considered a top-tier quarterback prospect for May’s NFL draft, but he’s raking in some cash in the meantime.
Morris came away from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis with $10,000 after clocking the fastest time in the 40-yard dash among quarterbacks wearing Adidas cleats.
Adidas pledged $100,000 to the top overall participant in the 40 and also $10,000 to the top player in each position group. The only caveat: You had to wear Adidas.
Morris actually finished second among quarterbacks in the 40 at 4.63 seconds. Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas ran a 4.61, but he wasn’t wearing Adidas. Oregon State receiver Brandin Cooks took home the $100,000 prize with a 4.33.
Even second place was a strong showing for Morris, who is no lock to be selected in the May 8-10 draft and struggled in last month’s Senior Bowl.
“I’ll just show my athleticism for one, show my knowledge for the game, show how experienced I am and show that I know a lot of football that can translate to the field,” Morris said when asked how he could impress NFL scouts at the combine despite concerns over his height and accuracy.
While it’s uncertain whether Morris, who was measured at 6 feet 2 at the combine, will even land on an NFL roster next season, Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles lived up his pre-combine hype.
Bortles, whom analysts say has developed into a top 10 overall pick and could go as high as No. 1 to Houston, is part of the “Big Three” quarterbacks group with Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater. Bortles was the only one of the three to throw in front of the scouts at the combine.
Teams were already impressed by his size (6-5, 232 pounds), but he showed his athleticism by finishing third among quarterbacks in the broad jump and fourth in the vertical jump.
In the throwing drills, Bortles showed “above-average” arm strength and “flashed superb anticipation on intermediate routes,” according to NFL Media’s Bucky Brooks.
Most top quarterbacks believe throwing at the combine has more potential to hurt their draft status than help it. But it might have paid off for Bortles.
“I believe that I can compete with any guy here, and that’s why I’m doing everything I’m doing,” Bortles said.
Bortles and Morris were the only two quarterbacks from Florida schools at the combine, but there were plenty of other state players.
None might have helped his draft stock more than FSU safety Terrence Brooks, who could have a chance to climb as high as the second round.
Brooks has average size (5-11, 198 pounds), but he clocked the fastest time among safeties in the 40-yard dash at 4.42 seconds. He was also tied for first in the vertical jump (38 inches).
Other state players who performed well:
• FSU receiver Kelvin Benjamin’s size (6-5, 240 pounds) makes him a first-round prospect. But his speed (4.61 seconds in the 40) also satisfied scouts.
• Auburn’s Tre Mason, a Park Vista High graduate, was hoping to run a 4.3 in the 40 but came in at 4.5. However, he finished in the top five among running backs in the vertical jump and broad jump. He is projected as a second- or third-round pick and is a possibility for the Dolphins, who interviewed him at the combine.
• UF’s Trey Burton, a possible late-round draft pick, improved his stock by finishing fourth among tight ends in the 40 at 4.62, tying for second in the 3-cone drill and placing fifth in the 20-yard shuttle.
• UM tackle Seantrel Henderson, a talented player who has dealt with off-the-field and injury issues, was fifth among offensive linemen in the 40 at 5.04.
• Local linebackers showed off their speed at the combine with FSU’s Telvin Smith second at 4.52 in the 40 and UF’s Ronald Powell tied for fourth at 4.65.
• UF’s Jaylen Watkins, projected as a second-round pick, was fifth among cornerbacks in the 40 at 4.41 and tied for first in the bench press (225 pounds) with 22 reps.
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