2019 NFL Draft Scouting Report
Prospect: Marquise Brown
Ht: 5'10" Wt: 168
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Evaluated by: Austin Smith
While I believe there is only one receiver in this class with the kind of skill set that is coveted in the first round in Ole Miss' D.K. Metcalf, the next guy is likely going to be based on who is picking and what they are looking for. In Brown's case, teams desiring speed are going to look to him. At 5 feet 10 inches, and roughly 170 pounds, there was a time when a receiver like Brown would have been devalued, but offenses are evolving to include them. Guys like Tavon Austin and Albert Wilson are becoming weapons despite their size and build, and Brown is already being used in a similar role in Norman.
He catches quick screens on run fakes that get him the ball in open space, and he runs a lot of routes that emphasize his speed whether it is down the field or moving across it. He had an instant impact in his first year as a Sooner, collecting 57 catches for 1,095 yards and seven touchdowns, including a monster performance in the College Football Playoff semifinal. His 19.2 yards per catch is what teams want to see with a player that fast, and 2018 was more of the same despite Baker Mayfield moving on to the NFL. I don't know if he will be valued in the first round this April by everyone, but if he puts up the low 4.3-forty that he is rumored to run, a team wanting to add some juice to their offense will want to get their hands on "Hollywood".
As I said, receivers like Brown have often been devalued because their skill set is very limited. Brown isn't going to outjump anyone for the ball, and timing routes can be tough because he has such a small catch-radius. It will take pinpoint accuracy to hit a guy as fast and small as him in stride, and while bigger receivers are able to show good body control on balls that aren't thrown perfectly, it is harder for guys that get going as fast as Brown. Guys like this used to have added value as a returner, but the NFL has practically done away with kickoffs and the evolution of punters has made it difficult to have an impact. He will also be a non-factor as a run blocker, although the attention he could draw on jet sweeps could help in that regard.
On the plus side, the NFL has really started to embrace some of the run-pass options that have grown popular in the college game. The speed of the game still makes it difficult for some of them to be successful, but in the screen game, particularly, RPO's are starting to become quite popular. Brown is a perfect example of a guy you want in the slot or on the perimeter as the screen option. He has good vision and patience to let his blocks develop, and when he hits the gas, he destroys pursuit angles.
There are plenty of teams that have a guy that is good enough in this area, but Brown can be a guy that defenses scheme to account for on RPO's, opening up other options. As I mentioned earlier, he is a player that everyone is aware of when he goes in motion, and even then, he can still make chunk plays on reverses. As a more traditional receiver, he is dangerous at full speed. His stature won't make him ideal at every route but on shallow and intermediate drags, deep crossing routes, posts, and go's, he is dangerous.
As a person, Brown has had to overcome his size at every level. Far more often, we talk about players who have to keep their weight down in order to have a shot in the NFL but those who must keep their weight up have an equally difficult challenge. Brown has battled to keep as much weight as possible on his frame, and credit has to be given in that regard. He has constantly had to prove himself, and to this point, that hasn't been an issue. With that kind of work ethic and drive, it’s tough to bet against him. The story of him working at Six Flags in order to pay rent while he was in junior college is also very inspiring, as was his attempt to play through an injury in this year's semifinal game. The emotion he showed when suffering the injury in the Big 12 Championship, and the effort he made to play against Alabama, despite clearly being hurt was a sign that this guy loves to compete.
He will never be a guy that plays every down but in today's NFL that doesn't mean he can't have a major impact on the game. The term "gadget player" has not always been a flattering title, but offensive coordinators are starting to get the most out of these guys. It will be interesting to see who gets their hands on him, and how they take advantage of his speed. For some teams, he may be worth considering as high as the first round, but if he runs as expected, I can't see him getting out of round two.
NFL player Comparison
Albert Wilson was thriving in his role in Miami prior to an injury, and that should provide a perfect example of the pros and cons to having this kind of player. One hit can wipe out a season but the big plays are there. Wilson was on pace to have a career season prior to the injury, and his 15 yards per reception was the best of his career. Wilson has a similar build and speed to Brown, and while Wilson wasn't as big a name out of college, his brief stretch in Miami this year was a good illustration of what Brown could be in the NFL.
- Should be one of the fastest players in the class if he declares
- Players with his skillset are having more success than ever in NFL
- Is currently playing the role he will play in NFL
- His path to Oklahoma was well earned
- Has worked hard to get his weight up
- Playing at under 180 pounds doesn’t bid well for a lengthy, healthy career
- Will have a limited number of routes he can run in the NFL
- Being a gadget player usually means playing a secondary role in the offense
- Return ability won’t offer much thanks to the rules of the game
- Not a lot of experience getting off press against physical corners
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