From now until the 2019 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
#5 Marquise Brown/WR/5’10 168 lbs
- Elite vertical speed, can take the top off any defense
- Playmaker in the open field, threat to score whenever he touches the football
- Lightning quick footwork
- Elite athleticism, shows great lateral agility
- Great feel for what the defense is showing him, finds soft spots in zone
- Works his way back to the football
- Sharp, quick routes gives Brown elite separation skills
- Better than expected at contested grabs
- Undersized at 5’10, 168 pounds
- Durability concerns if his body can hold up at the next level
- Has issues holding onto the football throughout the entire catch process
- Lacks strength
- 2018: 75 receptions for 1318 yards, 10 touchdowns, 17.6 yards per catch
- Career: 132 receptions for 2413 yards, 17 touchdowns, 18.3 yards per catch
- 2018 AP First Team All-American
- 2018 First Team All-Big 12 by coaches and media
- Cousin of Antonio Brown
- Nicknamed Hollywood
- Only spent two years at Oklahoma
Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown sure is a lot of fun to watch. The receiver, who has been nicknamed Hollywood Brown, sure brings a lot of flash and larger than life qualities to the football field. His skills and raw athleticism should not come as a surprise either as Brown carries NFL genetics in his bloodline as he is the cousin of Pittsburgh Steelers’ receiver Antonio Brown. And just like his cousin, Hollywood Brown is a major problem for opposing defenses anytime the football gets into his hands.
Brown averaged over 18 yards per reception during his time at Oklahoma because like his cousin, he is able to turn any play into a big one thanks to his open field skills. The Oklahoma receiver is blessed with elite elusiveness that makes him slippery in the open field. Watch him break the will and ankles of the Iowa State defensive back above. Trouble awaits if defenses can’t get a hand on him quick as Brown’s agility and elusiveness are elite traits.
When it comes to vertical speed, Brown is a burner. He very well may have legitimate sub 4.4 speed. Whether it is from the slot or out wide, the Oklahoma receiver has the pure speed and acceleration skills to take the top off a defense. Cornerbacks are unable to keep up with him and safeties have no margin for error as the slightest delay in reaction means Brown is likely already in the end zone. It’s not often that a true playmaker with elite agility and open field skills enters the NFL but it’s extremely rare that you get a player like Brown, who is an open field threat and a vertical threat as well.
But wait there’s more.
Being related to Antonio Brown, you can bet that Marquise Brown is a great route runner. It is hard to watch Marquise and not see similarities in his route running to his cousin Antonio. The Oklahoma receiver has great footwork and lightning quick feet which always gives him more than enough separation. The man they call Hollywood is an A-list route runner, as he sells his fakes well, often making a fool of the defensive back responsible for covering him. The defensive back above is Texas cornerback Kris Boyd, who is a significant cornerback prospect in this year’s draft but Brown makes him look foolish, opening him up and leaving him grasping at thin air before cutting inside for a big gain.
Hollywood Brown is also exceptionally gifted with creating separation right at the top of his routes. The play above demonstrates how cornerbacks responsible with covering Brown are being handed an impossible and unsolvable task. Most importantly, they must not get beat deep because Brown is a verified vertical threat. Okay, so they will give up the short catch and minimize the damage? That sounds like a good plan on paper except for the fact that Brown can take a ten-yard gain and turn it into a 60-yard touchdown, which is exactly what he does on the play above. The Oklahoma receiver’s long speed means that cornerbacks are extra cautious to not get beat deep, but all that does is play exactly into his hands as he can turn a simple ten-yard curl into a long gain.
Now here is where things start to get really unfair. Once again, another example of great footwork and route running that leaves him with a good amount of separation. The throw is a bit delayed and this allows the cornerback to recover but despite being just 5’10 and 168 pounds, Hollywood Brown goes up and makes a great contested catch. The Oklahoma receiver plays bigger than his size and is better than expected at contested catches.
If there is one area for the junior receiver to improve it would be his consistency with catching the football. He did have a few focus drops sprinkled across his tape, including a couple against Texas.
Projecting the Oklahoma receiver into the NFL has left some asking whether he will be the next Tyreek Hill or Tavon Austin. Despite both being undersized, one has become an NFL superstar and the other peaked as a gadget player. Brown’s skill and ability to play bigger than his size leads me to believe that he can be the next in line of undersized, elite receivers such as Hill or DeSean Jackson.
Brown’s a great receiver with a ton of natural athleticism. Athleticism is no stranger to the NFL though as every player who has ever donned a jersey has had some sort of natural athleticism. What makes Brown different though is that his athleticism is already nearing elite levels and he is able to use his athleticism in a polished manner. With the ability to use him as either a yards after the catch threat or a true deep threat, the Oklahoma receiver will be ready to start from day one.
Projection: Round One
Games Watched: vs West Virginia, vs Iowa State, vs FAU, vs Texas,