Early Look- Marqise Lee Scouting Report

May 9th, 2013
Marqise Lee is one of the top prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft (Photo: US Presswire)

Marqise Lee is one of the top prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft (Photo: US Presswire)

By: Mike O’Connor, Staff Writer

Once one NFL Draft ends, it’s all systems go for next year’s big day.  Thus, we will be taking some early takes on some of the top prospects for the 2014 Draft, before they’ve even had a chance to show their final developments in their last season or declare (if an underclassman).

It is important to  have a general grasp on strong prospects before their last collegiate season so that natural hype/dissapointment bound to hit them in some form isn’t too swaying.  Also, it is interesting and essential to see how prospects work on their particular flaws that were evident in their earlier seasons.  This can give them a huge rise or fall if they show they worked on those flaws =specifically, or couldn’t make any significant improvement.

Without further ado, I bring you one of the most polarizing prospects of this upcoming draft: Marqise Lee.

Prospect: Marqise Lee, WR, Southern California
Height: 6’1
Weight: 195
Grade: 7.7 (Grading Scale)

Scouting Report:

Athleticism/Explosiveness
+Has a very lean cut
+Strides are long and powerful
+Long strides make for exceptional acceleration; can get to his top gear in a matter of a few steps
+Superb athlete and a very fluid player
+ Makes safe but quick transitions from making the catch to looking for yards after the catch
+ Finds seams in defenses with his acceleration so easily
+/- Sometimes too much of a gambler in cutting back and switching fields, but his yards after catch ability makes for some magical plays
- Needs to gain some bulk, especially in the arms and upper body
+/- Feet can stop on a dime, but he doesn’t change directions well enough at top speed to be a consistently agile player
- Lack of strength has him shy away from high-contact areas, which often loses him yards
- Needs to be more confident with his speed and breakaway ability with the ball as a runner

Catching Ability
+
Hand-eye coordination can be unreal at times, as he adjusts to tipped passes coming his way
+ His hand-eye and quick hands allow for smooth hands catches when he wants to
+ Leaping ability can grant him excellent body control over defenders
+ Has a very wide catching radius
- Tracks deep balls poorly at times, and doesn’t locate the ball intently too often
- Lets his athleticism get the best of him sometimes; his fluidity causes him too mistime his jumps and sometimes forces jumps when the catch doesn’t warrant one
- Wastes possible yards after catch when he attacks the ball with his body and a jump when he could have caught the pass in stride
- His catching tactics on deep passes can be awkward; often waits for passes to fall to him, and doesn’t find the ball at its highest point over the defender
- Lack of upper body strength causes many passes that he wraps up fully to go incomplete when he absorbs hits

Guts/Discipline
+ Does a great job closing into passes his way when able to, ensuring that he’ll be the first player to reach it
+ Awareness around boundaries (sideline, end zone) is on point and hardly takes away from his ability to come down with the catch
+ Not afraid to run courageous routes over the middle
- Often gives up on plays to play actor and draw penalties, even when the call is borderline

Route Running
So fast off the line that he initially gains separation and avoids presses from defensive backs
+ Though he doesn’t change directions particularly well, he gives defenders quick shakes during his routes to gain more separation
+ Uses his hands to keep defenders off of him when they attempt to press
+ So crafty within his routes; he throws defensive backs through loops with effective head fakes and convincing shakes
+ Not many routes outside of his comfort zone since he can go underneath and gets downfield so fast for intermediate routes
+ Very balanced level of physicality when winning leverage, especially underneath
+ Uses hands ever-so gently to effectively win more leverage downfield when combined with his speed
+ Nice awareness of when to make definitive cuts and round off routes
- Tight coverage can make him antsy and throw off his physicality and he’ll lose leverage on the opposing defender

Blocking
Pleasant surprise as an effective blocker, as he gets his hands locked and drives defenders without holding
+ Constantly displays a good effort in doing so
+ Disciplined and smart as a blocker, as he knows who to take care of within his assignment and when to make his way downfield

 

NOTE: I didn’t even bother including snip-its of Lee’s play as a return man.  He really doesn’t fit or grasp the position, and he won’t be returning any kicks in the NFL.  It frustrates me that USC even uses him there…

 

Overview:
All eyes will be on Lee at the start of this college football season, and he likely won’t dissapoint.  Lee is already being compared to former top wide receiver prospects in AJ Green and Julio Jones, likely just because the 2013 draft didn’t supply a top target and Justin Blackmon has been, well, Justin Blackmon.  However, Lee is nowhere near the safe, NFL-ready receiver that Green and Jones were when they came out.

Lee is bursting with talent and potential, but he certainly has aspects of his game to work on and could use overall refinement in what will likely be his last year at USC.  His game thrives on his athleticism and explosiveness with the ball, and his already near-perfect route running ability.  All of these praises are well deserved.  Lee is a rocket waiting for launch with his unbelievable acceleration, and can break a play open at any moment with his knack for making the catch and immediately focusing on finding seams in defenses.

Lee simply needs more reps, which is hard to believe considering he has been starting since he was a true freshman.  However, besides stepping it up in the weight room, that is all I can come up with for this freak athlete and how he can further perfect his game and skillset.  His catching ability is inconsistent at times.  Lee also needs to be a more synchronized pass catcher with his speed.  His athleticism gets the better of him sometimes, which can cause him to play frantically and (yes, it’s possible) too fast.  Sound familiar? I would imagine so, because this tendency from Lee reminds me of Barkevious Mingo, just on different sides of the ball.

There is no ceiling for Lee, essentially.  He can become a more polished receiver with even more time focused on the position (USC recruited him when they loved his play a safety), and his game-breaking ability already overflows college football’s glass.  With Robert Woods gone, look for Lee to dominate production-wise this year.  However, look out for him to become even more of a stud if he makes strides in his already dangerous skillset.

Handful of the Scouting Notes:

Vs Syracuse: 
+/- Makes a quick catch as he goes to the ball, but fumbles as he breaks a tackle
+ Locates as a blocker so well, as he slides to become a lead blocker, springing a nice gain that could have been a loss
+ Defender has tight coverage, but a perfectly timed jump wins him the ball

Vs Arizona:
+ Awareness of the chains evident, as he declines a risky YAC move to dive and pick up the first on 3rd down
+ Catches an in-post route, then brings it to full speed in a matter of seconds to knife through the middle and score
+/-Gets excellent separation downfield, but leaps and body catches the pass…needs to snatch it so he can run
+Such a powerful, downhill runner with the ball as he shrugs off high-tacklers at high speed to score long again
-Poorly attacks the ball, causing an easy catch to be a tough, high catch (it is INT’d)
+Great hand-eye coordination, as he adjusts to a ball that looked like it would be tipped, and makes a toe-down sideline catch

Vs UCLA:
+/-Doesn’t fear the hit coming on a downfield throw, but could have instead jumped for the ball, while putting himself in a better position to be able to hang onto the ball

Vs Notre Dame:
+/-Uses vertical speed to get separation, but doesn’t locate the ball well and awkwardly turned the wrong way (drop)
-Not synchronized with his jump, and lets his momentum cause a drop in the back of the end zone

 

Tags: Marqise Lee

2 Responses to “Early Look- Marqise Lee Scouting Report”

  1. Nice summary, my only grievance or probably pet peeve with him is when he gives up on a play trying to draw a penalty. Maybe it is smart at times, but not the grit that a true player has. My guess that part of his personality will hold him back.

    • Mike O'Connor says:

      I agree, I can’t stand that….just drives me nuts. I want to see a guy, even at his size, fight for every single ball.


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