Why Undrafted?: Marquez North

By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

Two years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In this series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. Last year, we started the “Why the Slide?” series, and this year it is back along with “Why Undrafted?” Feel free to email me requests for “Why the Slide?” and “Why Undrafted?” at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely respond.

In the passing-driven NFL, wide receivers with rare size and speed are in demand. The 6-foot-2, 223-pound North has a strong build and blazed a 4.48-second time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. After flashing in the early going of his collegiate career, North never turned into the star he was expected to be at Tennessee. That was mainly due to issues with repeated injuries. North barely played in 2015 because of a knee injury and had only five receptions for 46 yards. A torn labrum took games away from him in 2014 as well. Even with his strong combine performance in an average class of receivers, North went undrafted. From a football perspective, he definitely should have returned for his senior year.

Sources say the reason that North went undrafted was because his medical evaluation was a mess. They say there were too many issues and concerns for him to be selected. Teams flunked him medically, and that sent North into the undrafted ranks.

After going undrafted, North signed with the Los Angeles Rams, and that was a great decision. The Rams lack a true No. 1 receiver and need a lot of help at the position. Kenny Britt is a declining veteran, while Brian Quick hasn’t panned out, and Tavon Austin is more of a gimmick slot receiver. The Rams really don’t have a good outside receiver to lead their passing game. Los Angeles also used a draft pick on Mike Thomas, so it won’t be easy for North to make the roster, but he has a shot. He also could benefit from a year on the practice squad. North has a real opportunity with the Rams.

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