Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is not like many top NFL Draft prospects. Undersized for his position. Brown did not receive any Division-I scholarship offers coming out of high school in Hollywood, Fla., prompting him to attend College of the Canyons, a junior college in California.
After a year he ended up at Oklahoma and still developed into a first-team All-American -- amassing 2,413 receiving yards over two seasons -- but then he went down with a foot injury that kept him from participating at the NFL Combine and the Sooners' Pro Day. He reportedly underwent surgery in mid-February and is not expected to be healthy until training camp this summer.
While Brown addressed these perceived setbacks during his press conference at the NFL Combine in March, he did not seem to dwell on them. Soon he'll be fully healthy and ready to make the most of his time in the NFL spotlight.
"I can play outside, take a comeback, and take it to the house," Brown said. "I can go outside, take an out, take it to the house. I feel that I can play both pretty well."
He validated these claims during his time in Oklahoma, surpassing 1,000 yards receiving and seven touchdowns in each of his two seasons and earning the nickname "Hollywood" from Fox Sports broadcaster Gus Johnson -- a nod to both his hometown in Florida and his dynamic playmaking ability. As a junior in 2018, he earned first-team All-Big 12 and All-America honors with over 1,300 yards receiving on 75 catches to go along with 10 scores. His resounding success has provoked analysts to move him up mock draft boards, with some thinking the Redskins could take him in the first round.
According to Kyle Crabbs of the Draft Network profile, Brown “is one of the more polarizing evaluations in the class, as his strengths and limitations are very evident on film. I don’t see him ever quite reaching the level that Tyreek Hill has ascended to, but he will be an explosive, productive receiver at the next level. The next step for Brown is some added muscle, as it will help him in contested situations, as a blocker and as a ball carrier. As long as he doesn’t sacrifice speed, Brown could become a Pro Bowler if he’s able to increase his strength. I anticipate Brown being a bit overdrafted in the first round, as an NFL team is going to fall in love with his speed and ceiling.”
Brown has compared himself to former Redskins wideout DeSean Jackson and Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks, noting that they are "undersized guys, and they're out there making an impact." In terms of this year's draft class, Brown believes he's the most dynamic and explosive receiver.
He's also well aware of his shortcomings.
“My [strengths are] speed, playmaking ability, my dynamic ability and explosiveness,” Brown said. “I need to get stronger, and I’ll continue to get stronger. I’ve been taking the weight room seriously since I got to college, and that’s something I’ll continue to work on.”
Take a look at photos from Friday March 2, 2019 at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. Photos from NFL.
At the Combine. Brown said that "everything's still on schedule" in terms of his recovery from the surgery he had to repair a Lisfranc injury in February. He estimated he would have to wear a boot for three or four more weeks but is confident he'll return to full strength. Most notably, Brown spoke to Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins about the surgery and recovery process.
Brown has also received plenty of advice from his cousin -- seven-time Pro Bowler Antonio Brown. While Antonio Brown underwent a chaotic offseason -- first reportedly requesting a trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers and then joining the Oakland Raiders -- the cousins honed in on Marquise's draft preparation by working out and watching film together. Marquise will surely try to emulate parts of his older cousin's game once he finds himself on the NFL stage.
“His aggressiveness,” Marquise Brown said. “Any time he gets the ball, he wants to score as well. We have the same mentality in that sense: get the ball and score.”