Marquise Brown was added in the first round in the 2019 draft. I will tell you why he is exactly what Lamar Jackson needs.
The Ravens have turned the reigns over to Lamar Jackson as the Joe Flacco era has ended. Lamar Jackson took this team on his shoulders and won six of the team’s last seven games to win the division. Though Jackson had a great winning percentage he did not fare well as a passer, he relied heavily on his legs for production. This may not be entirely his fault as the receiving corps on the Ravens was less than stellar. The Ravens spent a first round pick on a receiver and Marquise Brown is exactly what Lamar Jackson needs. Pure football skill runs in the family as his cousin is Anotnio Brown.
Lamar Jackson only attempted 158 throws in seven starts which averages out to only 22.5 attempts per game. On those attempts he only completed 58.49% of those passes. In his seven starts he averaged 159 yards per game. Part of this is due to not being able to get into a rhythm. Jackson may not be all to blame here as he had a poor group of receivers at his disposal. Having jumped into the starting lineup a little over halfway through the season Jackson never seemed to run the Ravens’ playbook. The Ravens seemed to change their offense to Lamar Jackson’s strengths instead.
How Can Brown Help
There is no argument that Marquise Brown is a highly productive receiver. During his career at Oklahoma, two seasons, he played in 25 games. In those games he totaled 132 receptions, 2,413 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. Translate that into per game stats and you have 5.28 receptions per game and 96.52 receiving yards per game. That averages out to an amazing 18.3 yards per reception.
Yards per route run is a new stat created by Pro Football Focus that measures the amount of snaps a receiver runs a route against the amount of receiving yards that player has during a game or season. Over the past two seasons in the NCAA there was no receiver who averaged more yards per route run than Marquise Brown.
Among draft-eligible receivers, only Marquise Brown topped Anthony Johnson's 3.48 mark in yards per route run since 2017.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 11, 2019
This stat shows receivers who are consistently play makers as opposed to some who flashed with one huge game. He boasted an excellent 70.2% catch rate in 2018. Marquise Brown consistently made plays for the Sooners in a high powered offense and will look to bring that same presence to the Ravens.
Red Zone Ability
As mentioned above Marquise Brown boasted a 70.2% catch rate. That already impressive number jumped to 72.1% when in the red zone. The only other rookie in the top 30 of the draft with a better red zone catch rate was Hunter Renfrow who had an astounding 79.7% red zone catch rate. Lamar Jackson’s red zone completion percentage was only 37.5% and he threw for only five touchdowns in seven starts. Watch any of Brown’s receptions and his ability to get separation is unlike anybody else in this draft. Mix his blazing speed with his killer route running and he should boost the team’s red zone efficiency.
Big Play Ability
Last season Lamar Jackson only averaged 7.08 yards per attempt. For his career Brown averaged 18.3 yards per reception. Brown is always a threat to take any catch to the house. He is amazing with the football in his hands and really showcases his speed. In 2017 Brown had 22 plays of 40 yards or more
The biggest knock on Brown is his size and stature as he only weighs 166 Lbs. That only matters if defenders can get their hands on him. Even then it is never a sure thing getting Brown to the ground as he broke 18 tackles in 2018. Watch this reel of highlights and pay close attention to how much separation he has when he makes his receptions. Then notice his breakaway speed as he racks up the yards after the catch.
marquise brown's big play ability is real. not the plays downfield where he's schemed open. you can tell he's going to have big plays in the nfl by seeing him create underneath on third down. pic.twitter.com/ioCa2Sjhbp
— KP 🏁 (@KP_Show) February 16, 2019
What This Means for Lamar Jackson
Marquise Brown can line up in any receiver position. He can play outside where he can use his speed to be a deep threat or his quick breaks on out routes and slants. Where he may excel is the slot though. With his ability to separate he should not have to worry about getting hit across the middle. When he catches the ball defenders are usually around five yards away.
This will make Lamar Jackson a much more confident quarterback. Part of the reason Jackson’s accuracy suffered I believe is because he could never get into a rhythm. Running the ball not only with running backs but with Jackson himself never truly allowed him to work in the pocket.
Brown running shorter quick routes could lead to a nice passing game for Lamar Jackson. The more completions Jackson makes the more confidence he will have. Once this confidence goes up he should be able to take more chances on the outside and use his other new rookie weapon Miles Boykin.
Brown also gives Lamar Jackson an elite downfield target. Lamar Jackson was completely awful when throwing the ball downfield last year. Brown is a pure burner and if he beats press coverage, which his footwork often allows him to, he should be three to four yards past his defender on each deep route. With Brown being that open on deep routes, Jackson should have great confidence in throwing a completion.
All in all, Marquise Brown has the potential to not only transform this offense into a more balanced offense but also more importantly has the potential to make Lamar Jackson a more complete quarterback. Brown’s ability to get open on short routes allows Lamar Jackson easy throws to get in a passing rhythm. With Brown’s ability to rack up yards after the catch the Ravens would be smart to try and get him the ball out in space.
His deep threat ability also makes teams play more honest and will open up the run game even more than it is. Teams will likely start the seasons stacking the box expecting run on probably close to 65% of the teams snaps. If Jackson and Brown can form chemistry on short routes and turn them into big plays then teams will have to stop stacking the box and use that extra linebacker or safety in coverage. The addition of Marquise Brown has the opportunity to transform this offense and allow the team to have a much more balanced offensive attack.