Some were taken by surprise when the Ravens drafted Oklahoma receiver Marquise Brown, aka “Hollywood”, with the No. 25 pick in the draft several months ago. However, not only was wide receiver an area of need, Eric DeCosta is on the record saying Brown was “one of his favorite players in college football last season”.
While he hasn’t taken the field yet this offseason, expectations are realtively high for Brown heading into his rookie campaign. Hollywood’s skill set and athleticism could be exactly what this offense needs to succeed and reach the next level.
Here are four goals for Brown’s rookie season. Be sure to join the conversation and leave your thoughts down below!
1) Get healthy and stay healthy
Brown’s first and highest priority should be getting on the field. After suffering a lisfranc injury in January and undergoing surgery, Brown was not able to attend the NFL combine and merely did a walk-through and some light drills during OTA’s and minicamp. Brown’s surgery entailed two screws being placed in his foot and as we’ve seen in the past with Jimmy Smith, the lisfranc injury can be tricky and linger. Whether or not he’ll be ready to go for training camp remains to be seen but patience is key. Obviously, everyone wants Brown to get on the field as soon as possible. However, at the same time, Brown needs to be 100% and shouldn’t be rushed back. The risk of him suffering a setback isn’t worth it in the long-term, especially given his speed, which is his best attribute, could potentially be compromised in said scenario.
2) Develop chemistry with Lamar Jackson
Brown and Jackson appear to have already sparked a friendship off the field, but their rapport on the field is of even greater importance. The spring is a great time for quarterbacks and receivers to begin establishing chemistry, which is why it’s unfortunate that Brown has been unable to take the field. Still, training camp and preseason present a good opportunity to make up for lost time. It’s imperative that they do, too, as they’ve yet to take any snaps on the field together. Brown will almost certainly have a significant role in the offense this season and most expect him to slot in as the team’s #1 receiver. Both Jackson and Brown will be important for each other’s developments and in order for the Ravens offense to succeed, they’ll need to be on the same page consistently.
3) Lead the team in receiving yards
Placing a lot of responsibility on a rookie receiver seems unfair, but make no mistake about it - the Ravens need Brown to produce next season. Baltimore’s receiving core has lacked much of a spark or punch over the years and heading into the 2019-20 campaign, Willie Snead IV is really Baltimore’s only established product at the position. No other offensive weapon on the Ravens possesses the same combination of speed, route-running, and shiftiness as Brown. His ability to stretch the field and create plays after the catch should produce consistent chunks of yardage.
4) Break the Ravens wide receiver curse
Baltimore has long struggled to draft and develop talent at the wide receiver position. Not just in recent years, but more so throughout franchise history. The best wideout the Ravens have ever drafted is probably Torrey Smith, but there’s been far more disappointments than successes, a la Breshad Perriman. Given the long history of failures at the position, Eric DeCosta took a risk by drafting Brown in the first round at #25, his first career draft selection as the team’s general manager. Brown not only has the talent to vindicate DeCosta’s decision, but he can also buck the trend of disappointing draft busts at the position. Quite frankly, the Ravens need him to.