Rookie Rundown: WR Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU

Rookie Rundown: WR Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU

Fantasy Football Rookie Analysis

Rookie Rundown: WR Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU

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LSU has been a wide receiver factory of late, producing two potential first-round picks in this draft alone. Last year, Minnesota Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson obliterated defenders in his first pro season. Other LSU receiver names cureent fantasy gamers should be familiar with: Odell Beckham Jr, Jarvis Landry, DJ Chark Jr., and Russell Gage.

The latest to be added is that of Terrace Marshall Jr., a possible first-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. While former teammate Ja’Marr Chase is poised to be a top-10 choice even after sitting out last year, Marshall has made a name for himself in NFL circles.

Few players combine his size and athletic traits. Even fewer are as dangerous down the field, and the number of rookie wide receivers in recent seasons with his understanding of release technique is practically zero.

Height: 6-foot-2 5/8
Weight: 205 pounds
40 time: 4.40 seconds

Nearly 6-foot-3 and threatening a sub-4.40 40-yard dash … Marshall will find an NFL team that expects big things, but is he ready to deliver?

Table: Terrace Marshall Jr. NCAA stats (2018-20)

Year
School
Class
Gm*
Receiving
Rushing
Rec
Yds
Avg
TD
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
2018
LSU
FR
9
12
192
16.0
0
0
0
0
2019
LSU
SO
12
46
671
14.6
13
0
0
0
2020
LSU
JR
7
48
731
15.2
10
0
0
0
Career
106
1,594
15.0
23
0
0
0

*includes postseason/bowl games

Marshall entered the collegiate ranks as the top receiving recruit in the nation. This is even more impressive considering he suffered a dislocated ankle and fractured leg his senior year.

In 2018, the true freshman hardly saw the field, and it’s far from his fault. The following season, when receivers tend to make a huge jump in college, Marshall became a scoring machine in a historically great offense, led by QB Joe Burrow, despite the sophomore missing a trio of games. As the third receiver behind Chase and Jefferson, Marshall did most of his damage on the outside, logging more than 73 percent of his snaps.

The next season, with Burrow and Jefferson in the NFL, quarterback play took a serious step in the wrong direction. The junior’s season saw him opt out during the year, and he still scored 10 touchdowns in seven appearances.

Pros

  • Excellent size and build — well-assembled frame with toughness on his side
  • Straight-line speed to challenge deep in the NFL
  • Still raw in many ways and offers upside for development under NFL coaches
  • Versatility in the lineup — played 73-plus percent of his snaps inside in 2020 after the same threshold on the outside the year prior (better suited as a traditional “Z” receiver on the outside)
  • Extremely productive in high school and college — averaged a touchdown every 4.1 grabs in his final two seasons at LSU
  • Understands how to get off the line of scrimmage as well as any young receiver in recent memory — easily his best trait
  • Tracks the ball consistently — displays natural ease catching over-the-shoulder passes and throws that make him stretch out
  • Will be a valued weapon in the red zone for size and competitive nature in jump-ball situations
  • Displays strong footwork and even has room to grow in this area
  • Has tools to improve blocking

Cons

  • Injuries — missed three games in 2019 with a toe issue and had the aforementioned severe injury in high school
  • He’s not a terrible catcher of the ball by any means, but Marshall has too many drops on his resume — seven over 55 targets deemed “catchable”
  • Lacks movement skills to generate yardage when his speed isn’t able to do it alone
  • Some questions about concentration and whether he played through the whistle enough
  • Could do a better job of selling route fakes
  • Routes are inconsistently good — may be a product of sometimes lacking intensity if the play isn’t designed to go his direction
  • Despite speed, lacks special teams experience

Fantasy football outlook

There will be people in the camp of saying Marshall is a WR1 in the making, but others may view him as a situational or complementary player. He displays traits of being capable of ascending his game to the borderline No. 1 neighborhood, if the coaching is there for enabling his optimization of existing skills.

The height-weight-speed combo will be alluring to coaches, and rightfully so. Every team wants to add more playmakers, and there’s zero doubt Marshall has a knack for generating successful outcomes when he touches the ball.

In the earliest likely draft placement, the Tennessee Titans (22nd overall) could divert from more pressing needs and add Marshall to complement A.J. Brown’s strengths as an intermediate weapon.

The Baltimore Ravens hold the 27th overall selection, and Marshall would be a tremendous addition to the weaponry available to quarterback Lamar Jackson.

There’s a strong probability we see the New Orleans Saints (28th) or Green Bay Packers (29th) draft for need if Marshall is available.

Other less likely but still worth mentioning scenarios … Cleveland at No. 26 could add another LSU receiver with Landry and OBJ facing uncertain futures with the club beyond 2021. The Jacksonville Jaguars (33rd), New York Jets (34th), Atlanta Falcons (35th), Miami Dolphins (36th), Philadelphia Eagles (37th) and Cincinnati Bengals (38th) all could use Marshall’s skills and are in prime position to draft him, provided the former Tiger escapes Round 1 without hearing his name called.

For 2021 fantasy football, the best situation is probably Tennessee. Baltimore would make Marshall a name to watch, and Green Bay could offer matchup worthiness on a week-to-week basis. Philadelphia would be favorable for volume, and reuniting him with Burrow in Cincy has its appeal, too.

All told, Marshall has a tremendous future in both real and fake football action as a rock-solid No. 2 target.

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