In what developed into one of the deepest wide receiver prospect pools in draft history, Carolina’s second-round selection out of LSU has quickly become a household name for Panthers faithful this preseason. Following three seasons as a Tiger, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone that didn’t mention Ja’Marr Chase as LSU's top prospect on the boundary despite his decision to opt out of the 2020 season. Now, no one is questioning that or taking anything away from Chase’s ability following a below-average preseason, I highlighted that here, but simply put, Terrace Marshall Jr. has continued to impress, and his praise this summer has been well earned.
A 6-foot-3 blazer on the edge, Marshall took over WR1 reps for Ed Orgeron’s Chase-less offense for seven games in 2020—and boy did he impress. Marshall totaled 48 receptions for 731 yards with six touchdowns, highlighted by a dominating performance against the Missouri Tigers in which he torched the secondary to the tune of 235 yards and three touchdowns.
"It was thought that he would be the No. 1 guy before Justin Jefferson, who we saw go crazy in Minnesota,” ESPN’s Marcus Spears said. “He is a big, physical wide receiver that can make plays (and) go up for 50-50 balls."
Marshall isn’t just a vertical threat, however, as he worked seamlessly in the intermediate portions of the Tigers offense behind Jefferson and Chase during his tenure in Baton Rouge. It was his way to earn snaps initially, Marshall said, who understood his role as an underclassman wasn’t to dominate or field a featured role within the offense. His role was carved out of hard work and dedication to his craft that ultimately made him into the receiver he is today in the early stages of his NFL career.
“Ever since I was five years old, I just came out and showed what I can do,” Marshall said following LSU’s Pro Day. “I can play anywhere on the field. I use my size to my advantage, my speed is unique, and I’m able to work DBs in and out of my routes.”
Looked upon as a backend first-round talent by The Draft Network during the offseason cycle, Marshall’s skill set, although without a WR1 designation throughout his time in college, presented one of the easier evaluations of the entire class. Among second-tier wideouts, he presented ideal size, ball skills, experience, and fluidity as a route-runner. When comparing his traits to the other wideouts selected in his realm in Arizona’s Rondale Moore, Baltimore’s Rashod Bateman, and the Giants’ Kadarius Toney, all who heard their names called before the end of the second round, Marshall has arguably offered the safest floor as teams move into the regular season. Moore and Toney, while they offer lightning-in-a-bottle-type speed, predicate their production on the ability of their offensive coordinators to scheme touches to get them in the open field. Both are also under 6 feet tall, which also presents limitations. Bateman is similar to Marshall in terms of vertical prowess at 6-foot-2, but is currently injured following a summer in which he received rave reviews out of Baltimore. Marshall has no issues when it comes to projecting his ability to stretch the defense this season, as exemplified by his 4.38s 40-yard dash time at LSU’s pro day.
Pairing his frame, eye-popping tape, and elite raw measurables, it isn’t hard to see why Marshall’s exponential draft board rise just months ago has led to his immediate success in his first slate of preseason games. Friday night was nothing different, as Marshall wrapped up his exhibition work amassing 43 yards through the air on three catches, highlighted by a 13-yard touchdown catch and run for his first professional house call.
With Christian McCaffrey healthy, Marshall joins Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore to round out what has developed into an impressive array of weapons for newly acquired quarterback Sam Darnold—who also enjoyed an impressive night, converting on 19 of his 25 pass attempts for 162 yards and two touchdowns. All in all, Marshall was dominant in the preseason, totaling nine receptions for 181 yards a score, accumulating the highest grade of any rookie wideout with a minimum of five targets this preseason (78.2).
It’s all in a day's work for Marshall, who’s ready to put in the hours to succeed, and his proof, well, it’s in the pudding.
- May 25, 2022
- May 21, 2022