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Article Rookie Rundown #1. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

Lost_In_The_Sauce

Hall of Famer
Eric Decosta marked a clear changing of the guard. Ozzie Newsome’s otherwise spectacular career as a general manager has a massive hole, he could never draft the big-game wide receiver. Not all of this is his fault, our coaching staff never developed anyone, but the wide receiver mark is a massive blemish on an otherwise hall of fame worthy career.

Enter Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. Cousin to former division rival Antonio Brown, and on the receiving end of two heisman winning #1 overall picks. Marquise will be the top weapon for the third heisman winning quarterback of his career.

The question now arises, is the Boomer Sooner phenom going to be a game wrecker, or will he be a situational gadget player? Well, the truth to me lies somewhere in the middle.

Player Profile
The Ravens were in desperate need of a playmaker, and in any capacity possible. I believed we only needed one(and we will get to Miles Boykin eventually), but we got two. I’m not going to lie with you, outside of the games where he was injured, Brown is practically flawless on tape.

Brown is capable of making plays on the inside and outside as a wide receiver. He has soft hands and is a good route runner, a distinct advantage that he has over Tyreek Hill coming out. He knows how to find soft spots in the zone, he’s a tough competitor, and he plays with a lot of heart.

The name of the game with Brown is speed. He hasn’t stepped onto a professional field yet, and he’s likely a top 10 player in the league from a pure speed perspective. He’s got near instant acceleration, and a second gear to boot, a rarity for a pro player.

He’s not just a deep threat, but a deep threat brings a lot to the offense that goes simply beyond the numbers. Namely with how you deal with press coverage.

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https://gph.is/g/Z2NxrbZ


As you can see above, if you press Brown, he’s simply too fast for anyone to deal with. Even a quarterback with accuracy struggles throwing deep(aka Lamar) is going to be able to hit a receiver that wide open, and even if Brown doesn’t score on every deep shot, that’s still a massive play to put a team into scoring position. The defense didn’t fail on that play, Brown was simply better.


The Brown pick is excellent for this reason alone. He’s a play threat, but we have to talk about the implications beyond the statline of what he brings because of his speed. If you press him, Brown is going to win no matter who he is lining up against, or regardless of who the free safety is on the opposing team. Defenses will have to account for a threat that big and have to play defenses in zone coverage.


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https://gph.is/g/4gQ6A7a

As you can clearly see above, the defense is in zone coverage across the board and Brown beats it easily. He uses his yards after the catch ability to bust the play wide open. He’s every bit as effective in the short yardage game as he is as a deep threat, making him all the more dangerous for opposing defenses to deal with.


Marquise is going to have to run a lot of slants here. He’ll do that, and do that well.

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https://gph.is/g/ZyMQvWZ



Above, Marquise’s display of his instant acceleration, his gear, and his ability to create seperation. Perhaps the best thing, his patience and understanding that there’s a soft spot over the middle.


Who does this open up in the passing game? Hayden Hurst and his former college teammate, Mark Andrews.


Speaking of Mark Andrews, his college tape is a pretty good representation of what Brown brings to the table. One of the dumber criticisms I heard about his college tape was “he was lucky the big ten only plays zone”. Well, there was a big reason they only played zone. Observe.


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https://giphy.com/gifs/Y4zqWcPPTbryK7iMDk



The play above is called creating a win-win scenario for your quarterback. This was first and foremost, a great play by Baker Mayfield, who recognizes the zone coverage immediately. The play comes down to one man, the safety. All Baker has to do here is read where the safety goes, and it’s a touchdown given who his weapons are. Brown requires safety help over the top, otherwise it’s a guaranteed touchdown to Brown. But Andrews, being a perrenial zone beater, has found a soft spot between the slot CB, and the strong safety that is supposed to be assisting over the top. Brown effectively takes two players out of Andrews’ way. Because Andrews is a good player, because of him it’s a big gain, but because of Brown, that’s a touchdown. It’s the little things that matter.

With regards to the play above, if the free safety doesn’t come over the top to help double Brown, then congratulations, that’s a free touchdown for Baker Mayfield required he makes the right throw.


Weaknesses

His frame is an obvious issue. Not his weight. He needs to add at least ten pounds of muscle. He looks lean, which will lead to disaster when he’s hit by an NFL linebacker who’s as quick as he is.

His other weakness? He provides absolutely no value on contested catches(again we will get to Miles Boykin, who provides a lot of value on contested catches). But if draft him to do that, you should not be an NFL general manager.

Brown is a superweapon. He’s a game wrecker who will give opposing defensive coordinators nightmares. Even if Brown isn’t making a statistical impact, he makes an impact on the field. If you draft a guy who gets 50 catches a year for 850 yards and 5 TDs in the first round, they may not look like it, but if that guy opens up the rest of the offense because of how dangerous of a player he is, it’s worth it.

Is his a complete receiver? Yes. Will he ever be a true #1? Probably not, I wouldn’t throw a ball to him with the game on the line in tight double coverage like I’d do with his cousin, but I don’t need him to be that. We have two tight ends on the roster that you could run a passing attack through, along with a new big body in Boykin, and Snead who is pretty good at busting zone coverage himself.

Do I still think that if one of the stud wide receivers from next year’s bountiful class falls should we select, and possibly trade up for them? Yes. I like Brown a lot, and he opens up the offense a lot, but he’s more of a complimentary piece than a true #1. An elite compliment like Tyreek Hill or an in-his-prime DeSean Jackson, but notice that those two were never the focal points of their respective passing attacks. Maclin was the better receiver on those Eagles teams, but not nearly as flashy, and Hill played next to Kelce who is the best tight end in the league.

Is Brown a market inefficiency? Yes. Is he small? Yes. But is he worth the high draft pick we used? Hell yes. You want to build an offense for Lamar, he’s a good piece to start with to build your wide receiving corps.


Sometimes big things come in little packages.
 

Edgar

Ravens Ring of Honor
@Lost_In_Translation
In the slant GIF - I love his few quick steps and how he turns his back completely to the corner with that built in sense of timing for when to hit the slant out of pretty much a complete stop. Oklahoma did a great job scheming him but he is so slippery underneath, running a slightly deeper cross over an opposite receiver and running right at the defender. @rossihunter2 pointed out how Brown varies tempo within routes and that is evident in the GIF's you brought along.
To me, that is very advanced route running for a college player. Nice write - up and thanks for the hard work.
 
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