Route Running – Does an excellent job being patient, yet sudden on his releases against press coverage. Lateral agility generally allows him to stay clean against the jam of a defensive back. Brown is loose in the hips and explosive, and he can break off routes at an elite pace. He’s developed as a route runner in his stems, as he began to show more deception while teasing moves towards defensive backs. When Brown incorporates a change of pace, defensive backs really struggle to remain in-phase. Creates a ton of separation vertically, as that is his obvious strength. Ceiling as a route runner is the highest in the class. However, he is still developing in this area and it may take time to reach the level that he is capable of.
Athleticism/Speed – Brown has legitimate burners, and will be a favorite to post the fastest 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine. He’s not quite Tyreek Hill, but isn’t that far off either. Straight-line speed is special, but he may be even better with his lateral movements. Accelerates in a flash with fantastic burst, change of direction doesn’t phase him in the slightest. Possibly the most developed lateral chain I have ever scouted, as he can run vertically while bending or torquing his body with ease. So, so swift.
Hands/Ball Skills – While Brown will corral most passes when he has open space, he can struggle when he’s crowded. A lot of these issues arise from his slight frame, as he rarely wins contested situations. On top of that, he can have shaky hands and fight the ball when he’s in tight quarters. Will rely on his body to catch passes a bit too often, which scares me for a projected deep threat.
Ball Carrier – If you’re a fan of scoring touchdowns, then you should get the football into Marquise Brown’s hands. He obliterates the angles of defenders with his long speed and quickness. Well balanced with seamless running technique, defenses struggle to tackle him. His lateral agility translates to his ability as a ball carrier, as he can make defenders miss in space. Effortlessly glides past blocks, finds open space and picks up yards in a hurry. There isn’t much power within Brown’s frame, which limits his contact balance. However, he shouldn’t be tasked with being in those situations too often, so it’s slightly less of a concern.
Stalk Blocking – I am a fan of Brown’s effort and motor as a blocker, but there are obvious limitations to this aspect of his game. His slight frame and lack of strength limits his ability to drive defensive backs. Additionally, his shorter arms make him easier for defenders to disengage from. There are technique issues as well, as he will either overrun his blocks or fail to properly climb into them. While the effort is there and the technique issues are fixable, his stature will likely limit him as a blocker for the entirety of his career.
Versatility – While Brown curiously never returned punts and kickoffs at Oklahoma, he has the traits to suggest that he’d be excellent in that area. This could lead to some time on special teams, especially early in his pro career as he develops his game. As a route runner, he is special down the field and as a ball carrier, but is lacking a bit in the intermediate game. However, he was used in so many different roles for Oklahoma that his versatility could be a massive upgrade for an NFL offense. At the next level, I expect a franchise to use him as a slot receiver, in the backfield and a threat with motions.
BEST TRAIT – Athleticism / Speed
WORST TRAIT – Ball Skills
RED FLAGS – None
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.