This year’s draft class features a game-changing offensive talent from the University of Oklahoma. He has blazing speed, is electric with the ball in his hands, and has a diminutive stature that is just below what’s considered NFL level, which is causing questions about his ability to flourish in the pros.
No, we’re not talking about Kyler Murray (that’s next week), we’re talking about the “other” game-breaking Sooner.
Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown — Wide Receiver — Oklahoma
Height: 5’9” Weight: 166 lbs.
Bench Press: N/A | Arm Length: 30 1/2” | Hands: 9”
40 Yard Dash: N/A | 3 Cone Drill: N/A | 20 Yard Shuttle: N/A
Marquise Brown, cousin to All-Pro Antonio Brown, didn’t receive any D-1 offers coming out of high school, so he walked on to College of the Canyons, a junior college in California, and worked at Six Flags to pay the bills.
After racking up over 700 yards and 10 TDs in 10 games, Brown received a scholarship offer his sophomore year from Oklahoma.
He walked into a stellar offense led by Lincoln Riley and Baker Mayfield, and fit right in. In 2017, he put up over 1,000 yards on just 57 catches and 7 TDs, averaging 19.2 YPC and earning the moniker “Hollywood” for his big-play ability.
Marquise Brown led the nation in plays of:— GAS - Sports for the Culture (@GoodAssSports) April 3, 2019
40+ yards (11)
50+ yards (7)
60+ yards (4)
That’s how you earn the name “Hollywood” pic.twitter.com/jn8iGQF07y
In 2018, Hollywood kept churning out Oscar-worthy performances as he led the Sooners in receptions and yards with 1,318 on 75 catches and 10 TDs, putting his career YPC at a whopping 18.3.
+ Absolute burner speed
+ Tyreek Hill-level quickness and acceleration out of cuts and from a dead stop.
+ Good contact balance, especially for his size. Didn’t just outrun guys, but shook off tacklers. 18 broken tackles in 2018.
+ Better route runner than your typical “deep ball guy”
+ Excellent hands and clutch catches in big moments
+ Dangerous with the ball in his hands. Turned several routine slants and screens into house-calls. Threat to score from anywhere on the field.
- Size is the biggest concern at the next level.
- Played in a brilliantly designed offense that stressed the linebackers and safeties constantly, so he was often wide open without even trying.
- Lisfranc surgery leaves a question mark around his availability and ability to start the season.
Just got into some film with @Primetime_jet . Smart football player and route runner. You guys will be impressed with adjustments he made on the fly with Baker and Kyler— Ted Nguyen (@FB_FilmAnalysis) April 12, 2019
Said he was hand timed in the high 4.2's and laser timed in the 4.3's, which is pretty obvious from the tape.
What “they” are saying
After watching Marquise “Hollywood” Brown’s film, I’m ready to believe he might be that type of difference-maker. It won’t take anyone who appreciates explosive talent to fall for Brown’s game. His sudden ability to change direction in-route and lose a cornerback is matched only by speed that can cause an entire defense to break down.
Personally, I’m sold on it. No. I’m downright enamored.
The 2019 NFL Draft class has a number of appealing wide receiver prospects and a litter of possible big outside starts. Brown still stands out among them. His film is the most enthralling of the crop. Brown has more plays that make you say “yep, that translates” than any other receiver in this class.
Don’t let the flash convince you that’s all he is. Brown displays technical precision at several points in-route. While defenders often show too much respect for his speed and vertical game to press him at the line, Brown has a number of moves in his arsenal to release from the line. He primarily wins with elite agility and foot quickness against press but also isn’t shy about engaging in a hand fight with a corner.
Ted’s Film Room: Top five ‘shifty’ receivers rankings— Ted Nguyen (@FB_FilmAnalysis) April 5, 2019
1. Marquise Brown- The man moves in fast forward while everyone else is in real-time speed.
Read: https://t.co/BzoECGN9h8 pic.twitter.com/PnomQ1vFcp
Brooks has Brown as his No. 1 ranked wide receiver in this draft.
Marquise Brown is a bit of an outlier, as a slender playmaker with home run potential. The 5-10, 160-pounder is a DeSean Jackson-like deep threat with speed to burn.
Brown is one of the more polarizing evaluations in the class, as his strengths and limitations are very evident on film. I don’t see him ever quite reaching the level that Tyreek Hill has ascended to, but he will be an explosive, productive receiver at the next level. The next step for Brown is some added muscle, as it will help him in contested situations, as a blocker and as a ball carrier. As long as he doesn’t sacrifice speed, Brown could become a pro-bowler if he’s able to increase his strength. I anticipate Brown being a bit over-drafted in the first round, as an NFL team is going to fall in love with his speed and ceiling.
Among draft-eligible receivers, only Marquise Brown topped Anthony Johnson's 3.48 mark in yards per route run since 2017.— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 11, 2019
He proves just how deep the 2019 NFL Draft class is at WR (via @PFF_Cam)https://t.co/7yuip5lxep pic.twitter.com/pvig3Yv5tA
Why he fits
Denver has reportedly been looking for a burner on offense to take the top off the defense, and give Joe Flacco a reliable deep target. Marquise Brown absolutely delivers on that ask, and then some. Brown would add another dynamic, speedy threat along with Philip Lindsay, and give Denver quite the young core of offensive playmakers, and can be the replacement for Emmanuel Sanders when he moves on.
Speaking of Sanders, depending on his health, Denver’s depth at WR gives Brown time to heal and wouldn’t force him into action early on, if he wasn’t ready.
Why he doesn’t
The two biggest concerns are his size, and his injury. I’m less concerned about his size, as he is pretty close to DeSean Jackson’s size. While he weighed in at 166 at the Combine, that was two months after Lisfranc surgery. He likely plays closer to 170+.
Now about the surgery - he got good news this week at the combine medical re-check. Reports say Brown “looked impressive” and his foot looked “excellent.”
While that’s good news, only time will tell how quickly he will be back to full strength, and if this will affect his speed at all, long-term.
Overall, I think Hollywood Brown is a perfect fit for Denver, given its needs at the position, and would give the Broncos another game-breaker and difference maker on an offense that’s still looking to find some explosion.
Unfortunately, even with the injury and not being able to perform at the Combine, Brown will likely be off the board by the time Denver picks at #41. If he somehow drops to them at the top of the second round, I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger if I’m John Elway.