Morgan Burns doesn’t want to make predictions about the NFL Draft.
Burns, the Kansas State and Wichita Trinity Academy product, doesn’t know if or when he will be selected. Nor does he know what position he will play should a team take a chance on him. For now, all Burns can say is he will embrace any scenario that allows him to continue utilizing his speed, which made him an All-America kick returner last season.
“I am pretty open to anything,” Burns said in an interview with The Star. “Obviously, kick return and special teams is something teams are looking at me for. I’ve offered to play defensive back, because that is what I played at Kansas State. Some teams have even mentioned offense, maybe moving into the backfield as a running back. I am open to that, too. I’m willing to do anything to help a team.”
Burns figures to be an intriguing option for many NFL teams as the draft enters its final rounds on Saturday. He is one of the fastest players in this draft class, and he proved as much at his pro day when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds, a time that would have ranked eighth at the NFL Combine.
Everybody is intrigued by his speed. That is a key element for the league. He will find a place or a place will find him.
K-State coach Bill Snyder
Add on his senior statistics at K-State – 1,138 yards and four touchdowns on 34 kickoff returns — and it’s easy to see why some projections have him going as early as the fifth round. Former K-State receiver Tyler Lockett excelled as a return specialist with the Seattle Seahawks as a rookie, and his college numbers were never as good as Burns’. At worst, Burns should be a priority free agent for many teams after the draft ends.
“Everybody is intrigued by his speed,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said. “That is a key element for the league. He will find a place or a place will find him. I’m not sure who it is going to be yet or when it is going to take place. … But he can help anybody.”
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper thinks Burns is one of the top five return specialists available.
“That could get him drafted,” Kiper said during a media teleconference.
Burns said he has been in contact with “a handful of teams” and visited the Green Bay Packers last week. He says the last few weeks have been crazy, his days packed with workouts, interviews and travel. He is also still taking classes at K-State.
It’s been strange for him to focus solely on individual improvement after years of putting his team first, but the time has allowed him to add muscle and skill. Rest and the lack of games have also helped. He thinks he is already a step faster than he was with the Wildcats.
“I am always working on my speed. That is the thing that is going to take me the furthest,” Burns said. “I am 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, not super big by any means. I need to show I can run, be shifty and have good foot work.”
Burns thinks he has shown those skills. Now, he hopes they are enough to convince a NFL team to use a draft pick on him.
But he isn’t making any predictions.
“I am pretty calm. I don’t really have any expectations on what is going to happen,” Burns said. “I have heard the last couple rounds, but if that doesn’t happen I will definitely be picked up as a free agent. A wide range of things could happen based on what teams do and who picks who, so I’m trying to control expectations. I’m just looking forward to it.”
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett