By Charlie Campbell
Summary: The Oklahoma Sooners have been a point-machine offense, fielding one of the most prolific scoring attacks in the nation over the past decade. They have produced a number of quality wide receiver prospects for the NFL with big-play potential. After losing Dede Westbrook to the NFL, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown stepped in and had a breakout 2017. The sophomore averaged 19.2 yards per reception that season for 1,095 yards on 57 catches with seven touchdowns. He concluded his sophomore year with eight receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown against Georgia in the college football playoff.
Brown totaled 75 receptions for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2018. Late in the season, he suffered a Lisfranc injury, and that broken foot kept him from working out at the combine.
What sets Brown apart is game-breaking speed. He is extremely fast and can score from anywhere on the field. Brown is a true flier who can take the top off a defense with his ability to burn coverage over the top. When Brown gets free, he is nearly impossible to track down, because his dynamic speed can take away angles. Brown is the kind of a receiver who can take a short slant the distance. He also has run-after-the-catch skills with some moves in the secondary, but mostly is a straight-line runner, using his speed to run away from tacklers. Brown has quality hands and route-running. He will need to learn more routes for the NFL, but as a speed receiver, he is adept at running his routes well.
The big concern with Brown is his size. He is short and very light, so durability is going to be a concern. Brown enters the league with a significant injury already.
For the NFL, Brown projects to be a DeSean Jackson-type weapon for an offense. Brown could be a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver depending on the system and quarterback he goes to. Brown should be able to play quickly, and his speed should provide plenty of mismatches immediately. In the 2019 NFL Draft, Brown looks like a safe bet to be a second-round pick. He might sneak into the end of the first round.
Player Comparison: DeSean Jackson. There are a lot of similarities between Jackson and Brown. Both have electric speed and are threats to score on any touch of the football. Both also are smaller receivers who have some limitations for the pro game. Jackson was a second-day pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, and I think Brown could go in the same range.
NFL Matches: New York Jets, Buffalo, Miami, New England, Baltimore, Tennessee, Denver, Green Bay, San Francisco, Arizona, Dallas, Tampa Bay, New Orleans
There could be a lot of teams in the market for an upgrade at wide receiver, so Brown should have plenty of teams hoping to land him in the 2019 NFL Draft.
In the AFC East, Brown could land with any of those four teams. The Patriots could use some youth at wideout, and Brown would be a good replacement for Brandin Cooks. Miami needs more receiving weapons, while the Jets have a poor receiving corps and need to give Sam Darnold more play-makers. Buffalo signed John Brown and Cole Beasley, but the team, could grab another wide receiver to stretch the field for Josh Allen. With Allen’s right-arm cannon, Brown could be a great fit as a speed receiver to challenge defenses downfield.
Baltimore could use more receiving talent for Lamar Jackson, and Brown would bring a big-play, speed element the Ravens are lacking. Cleveland could use more receiving weapons for Baker Mayfield, so it could make sense for the team to reunite Brown with Mayfield.
Tennessee needs to find more receiving weapons for Marcus Mariota. Brown would make sense as a speed receiver to go across from Corey Davis.
Denver traded away Demaryius Thomas, and Brown would give the team a speed receiver to go across from Courtland Sutton.
Ditto with Green Bay, as the Packers could consider Brown late in the first round or in the second round. They could view Brown as their replacement for Randall Cobb.
Christian Kirk was a nice addition by the Cardinals, but they could use more receiving weapons as Larry Fitzgerald won’t play forever. San Francisco could use more receiving talent, and Brown could give the 49ers a big-play threat to go with Dante Pettis.
The Cowboys traded for Amari Cooper, but he’s inconsistent and they need more than just him to help Dak Prescott. Brown could be a speed receiver to help take advantage of safeties coming up to defend Ezekiel Elliott.
Tampa Bay hosted Brown on a pre-draft visit, and he could help the team to replace DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries. The Bucs could target Brown early in the second round. Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall were signed midway through 2018 by the Saints because Sean Payton was frustrated with his wide receivers aside from his No. 1, Michael Thomas. Brown could be a good fit for a role like Lance Moore or Devery Henderson had in the New Orleans offense.
2019 NFL Mock Draft: Charlie’s | Walt’s
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