In the Film Room: Marlon Brown

The wide receiver class of 2009 doesn't have the depth and talent of last year's class, but there is still some talent in this group. I personally love big wide receivers. The best big wide receiver in this class is Memphis, TN native Marlon Brown.

I believe that Marlon Brown is the top overall wide receiver this season. With a combination of size, athletic ability, and play-making talent Brown has the best overall skill set in this class of wide receivers.

At 6-foot-5 and weighing 205 pounds, Brown is an imposing wide receiver prospect. He has tremendous size already and a frame to add even more size and strength. Brown is stronger than his competition, but will need to get stronger to dominate in college like he does in high school. As he grows as a player one area of improvement needed is to use his great size much more to his advantage. Brown uses his size well in jump ball situations and to fend off smaller tacklers. Once he learns to use that size as a route runner and to intimidate his opponents he has a chance to be scary good.

I have some questions about Brown's speed. I don't doubt whether or not he is fast. It's obvious that Brown has good speed. But just how fast he is I can't really tell on his film. Usually it's easy to tell the kind of speed a player has, but in Brown's case it is harder to tell. He's a pretty fluid runner, he's very long, and he is at full speed quickly. His competition isn't the greatest, either, and he just makes it look so easy on the football field. Add all that up and it is hard for me to tell just how fast Brown is. Brown also runs on his heels. It's not a huge problem but it wouldn't hurt him to work with a track or running coach to learn to run more on the balls of his feet.

There are no questions, however, about his athletic ability. Brown is a phenomenal athlete. It is rare to see such a big and tall athlete with the high level of quickness and footwork that Brown possesses. Brown also is a relatively smooth player and has good change of direction ability. What I like about Brown's ability to juke is that he is able to make one defender miss after another.

Often times you'll see a ball carrier make one defender miss but not the second. It's usually due to the fact that they can't juke, be balanced, and juke again. They also don't always have the field vision to see other defenders on their way. Brown can do all these things. His outstanding balance allows him to juke one defender after another in quick fashion. You see this in smaller players but rarely in bigger players. Brown can do this and do it well. He's very efficient with his moves and always looks to get vertical as soon as he sees daylight.

Brown is very dangerous with the ball in his hands. During his high school career he has not only made plays catching the football, but also has made huge plays on reverses, going in motion and getting the handoff, he lines up at running back, and also gets the ball snapped directly to him.

With his size, agility, and vision he's a threat to score every time he touches the football. As he cuts on defenders he does a great job using his hands to shield them off. He also has a very good stiff arm and uses it quickly and firmly. Brown uses his superior size to run through arm tackles and has shown he'll lower his shoulder in the open field when he needs to. When you combine his size, ability to stiff arm opponents, and his cutting ability, it is very difficult for any defender to get a clean shot on him. He needs to protect the football better as he works in and out of traffic.

Brown has very good hands and almost always catches the ball away from his body. He has naturally soft hands and it appears on film that his hands are relatively large as well. The Harding Academy standout shows tremendous concentration going up after the jump ball. Although I'd like to see him get a bit higher on some of his leaps, he catches the ball high and uses his size well to outmaneuver defenders.

The senior-to-be shows no fear catching the ball over the middle or in the seams. He'll have to attack the football more aggressively. He has a tendency to wait on the football, and at times will even drift away from it. He also looks to make moves before he catches the ball. When the ball is in the air he needs to learn to come to the football. This will keep defenders from being able to close on him or the football.

The 6-foot-5, 205-pound receiver has a very good pre-snap stance. He is balanced with bend and a nice forward lean. I taught my receivers to be chest over knee, knee over foot. Brown has this stance already, which is a good sign. He gets off the ball well. In order to maximize his ability he will need to develop more as a route runner. He has a natural understanding of route running. When you combine that with his agility with proper coaching he could be a very good route runner.

Brown needs to get more comfortable working against the zone. Once he finds the opening he settles in nicely and has a good feel for where the opening will be. But he can be a step slow and looks awkward while actually working through the defenders. Brown also needs to work on his technique to beat the press. In college he won't be able to use his superior size and athletic ability every week. In order to maximize his talents and potential to dominate he will have to develop moves at the line of scrimmage to beat press defenders. This is one area that I was referring to earlier when I mentioned he needs to use his size and strength more to his advantage.

It's scary how good Brown can potentially be. Everything he does now he does off sheer natural ability. There is quite a bit of room for growth in his game. He dominates his opponents in Tennessee and the game is easy for him. As he continues to develop his overall game, and realizes just how dominant he can be, there is no limit to just how good he'll be. Brown has the size, athletic ability, instincts, and talent to play from day one wherever he goes. In February some program is going to get one of the rare talents in this class.


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