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Terrace Marshall stacks up well against similarly-sized wide receivers currently in the NFL

The Panthers drafted Terrace Marshall Jr. to re-unite him with Joe Brady and to hopefully turn him into a lethal downfield weapon.

LSU v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Much to the delight of offensive coordinator Joe Brady, the Panthers selected LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. with the No. 59 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. As I mentioned in my previous breakdown of first round pick Jaycee Horn, it’s clear the Panthers had a game plan to get players who fit in their scheme as well as players who have elite athletic traits. This trend continued in the second round when the Panthers selected Marshall at No. 59 overall.

Marshall has the size (6-2, 205), speed (4.38 forty) and leaping ability (39-inch vertical) to be a dynamic weapon in an NFL offense. In his sophomore year, Marshall was dynamic as a part of LSU’s triple-headed monster at wide receiver in 2019, grabbing 46 receptions for 671 yards and 13 touchdowns as the No. 3 receiver in Joe Brady’s passing attack. Marshall played in seven games and caught 48 passes for 731 yards and 10 touchdowns as the No. 1 target in 2020, but opted out mid-season to focus on the NFL Draft. Marshall had 106 receptions, 1,594 yards, 23 touchdowns in his three-year career at LSU.

Kent Lee Platte, ras.football

While Marshall didn’t have an all-time great RAS score like Jaycee Horn, he does have an impressive 9.77 score, which was good enough for third at his position in this year’s draft class (behind Jacob Harris and Ja’Marr Chase). He ranks 60th out of 2,925 wide receivers in all-time RAS, which isn’t too shabby. (Fun fact: Joe Webb and Calvin Johnson are tied at No. 1 with a perfect 10.00 RAS.) Because Marshall is a bigger receiver, I decided to compare him to other wideouts who are close to his size that currently play in the NFL to see where he stacks up. I picked 14 current wide receivers who are at least 6-1 and weigh around 200-ish pounds. Mike Evans is the tallest and heaviest player (6-5, 235), six players are tied for the shortest (6-1) and Robby Anderson is the lightest (190).

Notable NFL wide receivers 6-foot-1 or taller by RAS

Player Draft Year All-time RAS Height Weight Years Active Pro Bowls All-Pro Teams
Player Draft Year All-time RAS Height Weight Years Active Pro Bowls All-Pro Teams
Davante Adams 2014 7.07 6-1 215 7 4 1
Robby Anderson 2016 7.68 6-3 190 5 0 0
Amari Cooper 2015 8.56 6-1 210 6 4 0
Mike Evans 2014 7.65 6-5 231 7 3 1
DeAndre Hopkins 2013 5.32 6-1 212 8 5 5
Justin Jefferson 2020 9.69 6-1 202 1 1 1
Julio Jones 2011 9.97 6-3 220 10 7 5
Allen Lazard 2018 8.70 6-5 227 3 0 0
Cooper Kupp 2017 5.27 6-2 208 4 0 0
Terrace Marshall 2021 9.77 6-2 205 N/A N/A N/A
DK Metcalf 2019 9.66 6-4 229 2 1 1
Allen Robinson 2014 9.06 6-2 220 7 1 0
JuJu Smith-Schuster 2017 7.68 6-1 215 4 1 0
Michael Thomas 2016 9.28 6-3 212 5 3 2
Sammy Watkins 2014 8.84 6-1 211 7 0 0

As you can see, Marshall has the second-highest RAS of the players in the chart. Only Julio Jones (9.97) had a higher score. And this isn’t just a ho-hum list of players, either. This is a bona fide list of some of the better ‘tall’ wideouts who are currently in the NFL, and Marshall stacks up well against them athletically. While this doesn’t guarantee success at the next level (DeAndre Hopkins has the second-lowest score at 5.32 and he’s a pretty decent receiver), it does give some promise that Marshall will be able to use his size, speed and athletic ability to carve out a quality NFL career while being an asset in the Panthers’ offense.

Numbers on a page aren’t the only way to judge a player, though. You also have to look at how that player shows up on tape. What do the scouts have to say about Marshall?

Lance Zierlein has more on what Marshall can bring to the table:

Big, fast and talented, Marshall has the ingredients to become a solid starter in the league but has some questions to answer. With the departure of Justin Jefferson and with Ja’Marr Chase opting out, more targets and more shaded coverage ended up coming his way until he opted out at the end of November. He looks much more comfortable outside than he does in the slot, and he’s a more reliable ball-catcher when he’s working the second and third levels. He’s a natural ball-tracker with a second gear and the catch radius to go get it, and his size gives him an advantage on 50-50 balls. For all of his talent, Marshall seemed disinterested at times in 2020 and wasn’t always committed to finishing his routes or running them with consistent intensity. There are traits and talent at his disposal, but the difference between becoming a WR2 and a WR3/4 could be determined by how hard he’s willing to work at his craft.

And here’s a quick look at his strengths and weaknesses:

Strengths

-Expected to be a big-time tester.
-Exciting height, weight, speed combination.
-Averaged over 104.4 yards per game in 2020.
-Playmaker who averaged a touchdown every four catches over last two years.
-Size to bang on undersized corners down the field.
-Strides and separates on go routes.
-Quality ball-tracker with second gear to chase it down.
-Foot quickness is a plus for being a tall wideout.
-Consistently gains ground on coverage on inside routes.
-Has experience outside and as a big slot in LSU offense.
-Very wide catch radius.
-Able to rescue throws way outside his frame.
-Runs with decent toughness after the catch.

Weaknesses

-Appeared to lack focus and intensity in some 2020 games.
-Excellent timed speed but doesn’t always play fast.
-Too content in allowing press corners to attack his release.
-Uses same stutter-skip setups into stems and breaks underneath.
-Fails to crank up quality route fakes to tilt cornerbacks off balance.
-Had focus drops in 2020.
-A step slow to get hands catch-ready as slot target.
-Allows coverage to crowd him too often.
-Needs to do a better job of finishing his routes.
-Has almost no special teams experience.

Also, because I have to bring a visual aid to this show-and-tell party, here’s a quick look at what Marshall can do on the field:

The biggest question mark we’re going to have with Marshall is whether or not he can stay healthy enough to be a solid, dependable contributor at the next level. He has battled injuries throughout his college career, but when he’s on the field he’s a dynamic presence that defenses have to account for. The simple threat of him being lined up in the formation should open things up for the Panthers’ other playmakers (Moore, Anderson and McCaffrey), and he should also be able to feast on smaller defensive backs in the middle of the field.

The Panthers are hopeful that Marshall can overcome his injury history and be a solid contributor for them on offense. He has the tools to do so, and if he can put it all together he will be a solid value pick for someone who was drafted at No. 59 overall. We could even be using the term ‘steal of the draft’ if everything goes according to plan. Wouldn’t that be nice?