Scouting the 2021 NFL Draft: Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU

Terrace Marshall Jr. NFL Draft

LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. enters the 2021 NFL draft in the shadow of Tigers teammate Ja’Marr Chase and after a career in the SEC that took longer than expected for him to become the unquestioned go-to-guy in LSU’s offense.

Marshall’s tenure at LSU kicked off after a high school career that saw him ranked as the No. 1 recruit in the state of Louisianna and graded as a five-star prospect. Scout ranked him the second-best receiver in the nation during his recruiting year and he checked-in 10th on ESPN’s top 300 list. He received 24 scholarship offers but committed to LSU over SEC powerhouses Alabama and Georgia.

Marshall appeared in 13 games as a freshman in 2018 and ended the year with 12 catches for 192 yards while acclimating to the college game. He took a significant step forward in 2019 playing alongside Justin Jefferson and Chase and finished the season with 46 catches for 671 yards and 13 scores. With Chase opting out of the 2020 season, Marshall finally became the featured target in the Tigers offense and finished his final season with a career-best 48 catches for 731 yards and 10 touchdowns in just seven games.

Physically, Marshall presents as a tall wide receiver with good length at 6-3, 200 pounds. Despite his above-average size, he isn’t very strong and is often jolted backward when attempting to block in the run game. He plays like a smaller wide receiver.

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Athletically, Marshall possesses quick feet and good long speed. He’s a tad tight in the hips and can get a bit choppy/gear down at the top of his routes, but he certainly has upside as a run-after-the-catch player in the NFL. When he turns on the jets, he’s hard to catch from behind.

Marshall is a solid route-runner who has a quick release off the line of scrimmage. He uses quick-steps and head/shoulder fakes to avoid being jammed at the snap and does a nice job using his body to create separation at the top of his route. He’s a savvy player who knows how to use his hands and work himself free without drawing an offensive pass interference penalty. That said, he tends to round off his routes instead of making crisp/clean breaks which allows defensive backs to recover a bit.

Marshall’s hands are average. At times, he looks like he labors to catch the ball; it doesn’t always appear natural for him. He tends to slap at the football which resulted in some drops on tape. What makes Marshall a difficult study is that for every one of those frustrating bobbles or drops, he makes a quality reception in traffic or away from his frame. He’ll have to become a more consistent and reliable finisher at the NFL level to earn a big-time role in an offense.

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After the catch, Marshall displays good top-end speed and has enough juice to run away from defensive backs. He’ll offer a nice downfield threat early in his career as he refines some of the rougher parts of his game.

Marshall is a liability in the run game. He just isn’t strong enough to feel comfortable with him being a contributor on running downs. While run blocking isn’t as important as it once was for a wide receiver’s evaluation, it’s still a valuable trait when separating good prospects from great ones. Marshall doesn’t check this box.

Overall, Marshall possesses the necessary traits required from an eventual starting wide receiver in the NFL. His size and explosive downfield ability will make him appealing to teams that are looking for a complementary piece to their passing game. He profiles as an outside receiver who can work the third level of the field. What you saw from Marshall at LSU is what he’ll be in the pros: a second or third option for an offense that already has an established go-to-guy on its roster.

GRADE: 7.4 (second round)

Bryan Perez

Bryan is the founder of Pro Football Draft. His work has been featured on The Draft Network, NBC Sports and USA Today. Former CFL scout.

Follow him on Twitter: @BryanPerezNFL