Our NFL rookie profile series continues with this analysis of 2019 NFL Draft Prospect Marquise Brown, WR of Oklahoma. You can also check out all of our NFL Draft Prospect articles here. We will continue to provide you with these in-depth rookie profiles and a ton of other fantasy football rookie analysis right up through the NFL Draft. Stay tuned, and stay ahead of your league!
What do Drew Hill, Alfred Jenkins, Kelvin Martin, and Marquise Brown have in common? All of these players are all approximately 5-9 and 166 pounds. Hill, who played in the NFL from 1979 to 1993, is arguably the most successful vertically and size-challenged wide receiver in NFL history at 5-9, 170 pounds, finishing his career with 634 receptions on 9,831 receiving yards with 60 receiving touchdowns.
NFL coaches covet speed as the league prefers to throw the ball. But can Brown, the diminutive speedster out of Oklahoma, be a fantasy producer?
Statistics from sports-reference.com.
Coming out of high school in Florida, Brown was not highly recruited and had initially committed to Utah State before that fell through. He sat out a season after his senior year in high school, then went to College of the Canyons.
As a JUCO Freshman for the Cougars, he posted 50 receptions for 754 receiving yards and ten receiving touchdowns. It was also during this time that it has been reported, at 5-9 and 140 pounds, he blazed a 4.33 40-yard dash while trying to get recruited. 247Sports football recruiting saw him as a four-star JUCO transfer and ranked him as their number two (JUCO) wide receiver and 13th in the nation.
After one year in JUCO football, he transferred to Oklahoma.
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Graphs and data from Peter Howard.
Due to his late start, because of academic reasons, he has a breakout age of 21 years old. Thanks to DLF writer Peter Howard, we can look at his dominator rating and other metrics like market share, as shown above. In his first season at Oklahoma, he posted a dominator rating of 18.3% and last season a strong 26.2% in the Sooners’ offense.
Brown was not utilized in sweeps or handoffs and had no returns on special teams. However, there were designed plays where he would line up in the backfield at times and would receive passes behind the line of scrimmage.
You don’t get the nicknamed “Hollywood” Brown by producing boring and average numbers. With his speed, he is highlight material waiting to happen. Very few players can terrify a defense with speed like Brown. He drew plenty of defensive pass interference penalties and a few were even missed.
- Can’t teach speed. He eats up cushion when defenders back off.
- As a ball carrier, he is a threat to split defenders and score from any place on the field.
- Football IQ and field awareness along the sidelines. Consistently able to get his feet down in the field of play.
- Defenses have to plan for his speed and provide defensive backs with help over the top.
2017 vs Oklahoma State
⚡️ SPEED ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/wIcsl8jSuB
— Pete Lawrence (@_PeteLaw) March 31, 2019
- Hands are fine when open, but he can struggle with contested catches due to his frame.
- Worried about his frame and low BMI. At 166 pounds, very few players in the 2000s have become legitimate contributors to a team.
- Route tree. Needs to work on becoming more of a technician with his routes. If he can become a better route running and incorporate his speed, he could become DeSean Jackson lite.
- Easily tackled or knocked to the ground if a defender can get hands on him.
2018 vs West Virginia
• Start/Stop Speed
– Dangerously thin frame. Long term health/durability issues are a possibility.
– Trouble with contested catches due to size.
• Speed causes issues when he uses deception or shows different routes. pic.twitter.com/x56Siqsm6w
— Pete Lawrence (@_PeteLaw) March 31, 2019
It is easy to see his physical limitations. According to MockDraftable, his closest physical player comparisons are Greg Dortch, Terry Godwin, and Ryan Davis. Jeremy Bloom and Dede Westbrook also show up on the list.
Due to a Lisfranc injury, he was unable to perform at the combine. It has been reported this injury could take up to 11 months for a full recovery, meaning he would likely start the 2019 season on the Physically Unable to Perform list and be a risk to sit out the season.
Using Pro Football Reference, I looked at the stats for all wide receivers who came in under 5-10 and 168 pounds and have been in the NFL since 2000. Needless to say, it is not a promising list.
To be a contributor in the league, he will be an outlier and his speed will need to be exceptional.
Utilizing March ADP data, Brown is currently going as the 17th player off boards in rookie drafts. In what some might consider a thin player pool, he is currently going ahead of Devin Singletary, his college quarterback Kyler Murray and Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill. For your dynasty startup drafts, he is being selected around round nine – with many other rookies – and going just after veterans like Curtis Samuel and before Tre’Quan Smith.
Hollywood Brown, with his big-play upside, could see a meteoric DeSean Jackson or Tyreek Hill-like rise next year if healthy and fully able to participate.
I feel that Marquise Brown is far too much of an outlier. The bantam-sized wide receiver would need to be at the extreme end of an outlier group. As I discussed, looking at similarly-sized receivers and how they fared, I believe there are too many obstacles for him to be a success.
I did miss last season on Phillip Lindsay, due to my size bias, so it is possible in today’s pass-happy NFL and more spread offense systems he can use his speed to make a living. It seems like it will take a very good landing spot for him to hit just right.
While other owners are chasing for the highlight-reel action, I urge you to play it safe. Follow the draft capital. Watch where, and when Brown is drafted. If a team moves up to take him, it means his medicals check out and they have a plan. If that is so, snap him up at the end of round two or early in round three.
Pete is a Western Washington University (Go Vikings! Undefeated at Football since 2009!) History grad with a doctorate in dynasty football, from a certificate he bought online. He prefers stats and analytics but realizes film grinding is an important part of the process. Dabbles in "Mild Takes" and believes in the process.
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