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Rookie Spotlight - Marquise Brown


With the 25th pick in the 2019 NFL draft, the Baltimore Ravens select Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown. Brown immediately threatens to be the best wide receiver on the roster.

The Ravens' identity has remained unchanged since they started in 1996. They take the ball to the ground to pound you into submission, and they dominate you on the defensive side of the ball. After grabbing quarterback Lamar Jackson last year and Brown this year, it's possible that a changing of that mentality could be in order thanks to these two.

Brown has speed to burn, and he showed it plenty in college. If it weren't for the Lisfranc injury he suffered in prep for the combine, he could have gone even higher in this year's draft. He has the game-breaking speed that makes him next to impossible for cornerbacks to cover. With the Ravens, they'll be hoping he can bring that speed to juice up their low-octane offense.

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The Landing Spot

Brown landed with the Ravens that featured no receivers over the 1,000-yard mark, and they had just one guy, current Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown, that hit the 700-yard mark. Brown, and wide receiver Michael Crabtree are now gone. When looking at the wide receiver depth chart, the top names on it are Willie Snead IV, Brown and last year's fifth-round pick Jordan Lasley, who didn't play in a single game last season.

After trading quarterback Joe Flacco during the offseason, the Ravens indicated that they were fully in on Jackson as their quarterback. In college, Jackson was a big play waiting to happen, and he did just that en route to winning the Heisman trophy during his sophomore season. He needed another big-play threat to take that heat off of him. Brown can be that guy. He has the talent to make big plays happen at any time.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman was with the San Francisco 49ers during their three-year stretch of consecutive trips to the NFC Championship game. Their offense used the threat of quarterback Colin Kaepernick's mobility to open up space for the playmakers. That's what they'll be doing with Jackson. Brown has every opportunity to be the number one option in this offense. He just has to seize that opportunity.

 

The Trip Here

Brown played just two seasons at Oklahoma, but he put up great numbers in both. He totaled 2,413 yards and 17 touchdowns across those two seasons. He led the team both seasons in yards, and he nearly led in receiving touchdowns both years as well if it weren't for the work of past and present teammate tight end Mark Andrews. Brown's long speed is what makes him such an exciting prospect, as he had multiple instances during college where he outran any and all defenders.

Brown was nearly not here, as it was widely believed the Ravens were taking safety Darnell Savage Jr. with the 22nd pick before the Green Bay Packers leapfrogged them to get him. However, with some decent defensive pieces in place, grabbing the explosive playmaker in Brown makes a ton of sense. His physical tools are something they've been trying to get for years. They finally have a field stretcher that can do more than run straight lines.

The offense Brown played in in college showcased his skillset best by getting him the ball in open space and allowing him to make a play. That should be how the Ravens try to use him. They shouldn't relegate him to running verticals on every play because he's a talented enough player to do more than that. His lack of raw size is seen as a hindrance by some, but he can use that to his advantage to get by bigger and slower defenders on the chase.

 

To 2019 and Beyond

Brown is likely going to be among the top rookies in receiving yards next season as long as he's healthy. He has to beat out the extremely inconsistent Snead for the top wide receiver spot, and the tight ends will be scrapping with each other for the top spot at that position. The team also lacks an elite receiving threat out of the backfield. Really, the only thing that will be holding Hollywood back will be himself or the development of Jackson.

Brown is likely going to be a top three receiver off the board in rookie drafts, so, if you end up getting him, you're likely going to have to spend a premium pick to grab him. This isn't to say he isn't worth it, because he showed when he was on that he absolutely is worth it. If you have a need at wide receiver, which we all could use a guy like Hollywood, you shouldn't think twice about adding him after the first few picks in a rookie draft or as one of the first rookies in a startup draft.

I'm not convinced Brown will put up 1,000 plus yards and 10 touchdowns as a rookie. It's just not super likely. However, seeing him put up 800 yards with five or six touchdowns is definitely in the realm of possibility. He's that talented of a player when he and his quarterback are clicking. If he and Jackson get on the same page early, this duo is a match made in heaven.

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