2019 NFL Draft Prospect Profile Scouting Report: Marquise Brown
Marquise Brown, the ‘Hollywood’ cousin of new Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, put on a dazzling show his final season at Oklahoma. Playing with Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, he played his way into the first round of the NFL Draft conversation. Unfortunately, he was unable to run or do any drills at the combine due to a Lisfranc injury. That specific injury is not particularly kind though it seems that both Marquise Brown’s camp and NFL teams are not overly worried.
Marquise Brown actually followed the route of several other highly drafted NFL prospects and played a year at a community college before signing with a Division One school. Brown had no D1 offers as he was the size of a middle schooler when he graduated. At his JuCo in California, he posted a 50-754-10 receiving tally while also returning kicks and punts, scoring two return touchdowns. He then transferred to Oklahoma after one season at College Of The Canyons.
Immediately at the University of Oklahoma, Brown became the best wide receiver that Baker Mayfield had. He lead OU in receiving yards and finished second in touchdowns with future NFL starter Mark Andrews. The 2017 Oklahoma Sooners had one of the most deadly offenses in the history of college football and Brown was a big part of that. Brown averaged 19.2 yards per reception in 2017 and 17.6 in 2018. He again lead the Sooners in receiving yards in 2018 while also leading the team in receptions. In his two seasons at OU, both of his quarterbacks won the Heisman and they made the college football playoff twice. He finished as just one of eight wide receivers in the 2010s to average 18 yards per receptions while tallying more than 130 catches.
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There are a few clear things going for him: Brown is hitting the NFL at a young age (currently 21 years old), was productive in each season of his college career and seems like he was maybe the fastest player in college football. His market share numbers never topped 30% but I have a solid argument as to why that doesn’t matter AS MUCH on a team like Oklahoma. A team as good as Oklahoma is often blowing games out which gives some extra run to the third string guys (19 players had a reception for OU in 2018) and he was also playing alongside NFL prospects in CeeDee Lamb, Rodney Anderson and Grant Calcaterra.
The biggest issues that Brown faces are his size and this current Lisfranc injury. In NFL history, there have been only 11 wide receivers who weighed 167 pounds or less and had more than 100 career receptions. Taylor Gabriel and JJ Nelson were the only wide receivers who caught a pass in the NFL in 2018 who weighed less than 169 pounds.
I’ve been watching college football wide receiver tape for many years and I am not sure I have ever seen a wide receiver get behind the safeties as often as Marquise Brown. Playing with Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield certainly helped but it is clearly impressive what he was able to do at Oklahoma. He was able to do a bit more than just run nine routes; he was effective on wide receiver screens and as a ball carrier in a way that most do not give him credit for. He played in so many ways under offensive genius Lincoln Reilly that I am giving him extra NFL credit; I think he will be able to do a lot of different things for a vast array of NFL coaches and under his job right away. Joe Ledyard of The Draft Network agrees with my overall assessment, writing “As a vertical and post-catch threat, Brown may be the best in the class, showcasing unbelievable speed to run right by deep safeties and the elusiveness to make defenders look silly in space.”
Marquise Brown Final Verdict
Perhaps five years ago, I would have given a wide receiver who weighed 165 pounds an undraftable grade. In this version of the NFL, Marquise Brown has real value even if he doesn’t put on weight or muscle. His size will limit what his NFL team will do with him as a ball carrier on end around, jet motion and screen plays which is troubling because his speed would make you want to use him that way. However, I actually see him in the mold of Brandin Cooks. A very good wide receiver who consistently finds the crease in the zone and is able to beat bigger, stiffer cornerbacks to his spot every time.
Is he the best wide receiver in this class? No way. N’Kealy Harry, Hakeem Butler and even JJ Arcega-Whiteside seem like more stable wide receiver prospects. However, Brown clearly has some special sauce that will lead to him being a high draft pick (the most important thing when considering the future of a wide receiver for dynasty fantasy football). All things considered, he is a top-five wide receiver in this class but has enough size concerns to be in the second tier as opposed to the first.
2019 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles: