In going through the 49ers roster to come up with 2011 grades, most players were fairly easy to figure out in terms of whether to include a grading poll. For guys like Daniel Kilgore, Mike Person and Colin Kaepernick, their lack of any significant playing time as rookies meant they were pretty clearly incompletes and not to be graded. There was plenty to discuss about them, but not a particularly specific grade.
Wide receiver Joshua Morgan is not quite as clear cut. After all, the 49ers receiver got off to a pretty solid start to the season with 15 receptions for 220 yards and a big 30-yard touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles. He was the team's leading receiver before he broke his leg late in the 49ers blowout win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Morgan was off to a solid start, but it is hard to project out for the entire season. When he went down, Michael Crabtree was working back from his own foot injury. Braylon Edwards had gone down three weeks prior with a knee injury and the team was still hoping for a solid contribution from him. Kyle Williams had shown some flashes but was not getting much in the way of significant playing time.
Had Morgan stayed healthy we know he would have contributed down the stretch run and in the playoffs. We don't know how much he would have helped, but as the season wore on, the loss seemed to hurt more and more. It was as much just a gut reaction as anything, but something just seemed funky without him. Michael Crabtree put together a solid stretch of play in the regular season, but beyond him there was always something missing.
This does not necessarily have anything to do with grading Morgan, or maybe it will impact your grade. I have also included an "Incomplete" option because some folks might not be comfortable grading out a third of a season from Morgan.
It remains to be seen what his long term future is with the 49ers. He is an unrestricted free agent and will reportedly check out the market before agreeing to any deal with the 49ers. He would seem to be lacking in leverage, but given how his season started, somebody might be willing to throw a little extra money his way, banking on his upside.
Whether he fits into the mystery that is the 49ers wide receiver corps remains to be seen. I am a big fan of his and do hope he is back in 2012. I think he could be a strong 2b or 3 receiver if the 49ers decide to add one more weapon out wide. If the 49ers decide to go the free agent route and add a big name, Morgan could work well as the third receiver. If the 49ers went young via the draft, Morgan and Crabtree could work well together in the 1 and 2 as the team brings along said young receiver.
Simply put, I think there is some flexibility with what the team can do with Morgan if they bring him back. There is a great opportunity for Morgan in San Francisco, so my fingers remain crossed heading into free agency.