Scouting the MAC: Marshall

Possibly the best "small" I-A program in the land, Marshall has a history steeped in winning and a team that places a lot of quality talent into the NFL through both the early portions and later frames of the draft . In 2003 they will offer their earliest selection ever and the amount of pro-prospects runs very deep.

Marshall Thundering Herd

The Herd offense never missed a beat when Byron Leftwich stepped behind center after Chad Pennington graduated and was selected in the first round of the 2000 draft. A big, strong, pocket passer with a pro-arm, Leftwich displays both the physical and mental skills to play quarterback at the next level. Patient, he looks away from the primary target, scanning the field and goes through receiver progressions, looking off the safety. Leftwich knows where his receivers are on the field and quickly gets rid of the ball with a flick of the wrist. His ability to roll outside the pocket and make the throw on the move, losing absolutely nothing, is impressive. For the most part he'll make good decisions and throws with solid fundamentals but occasionally tosses one off his backfoot or tries to thread the needle and get the ball through coverage, all which has adverse results. For all his good attributes Leftwich has only average accuracy, directs his throws too much and is late on the timing passes. If the details of his game are ironed out he has big time talent and will be a top three pick next April. As is the case every year, Marshall has a ton of quality receiving targets, starting with Darius Watts, a home run hitting receiver with a great upside. Watts has size, size potential speed and the top end speed that enables him to run away from opponents. He uses his frame to shield away defenders and has the ability to extend or reach back and grab the errant throw. His problem is a lack of concentration as he drops way to many passes, especially those of the easy variety. If the mental aspects of his game ever come close to the physical abilities he possesses, Watts will be a very early draft selection. A dislocated a shoulder late in fall practice and my keep him off playing field for a bit. Josh Davis, a third year sophomore, displays a lot more consistency than Watts and is seemingly much more a natural receiver. A reliable target, Davis sneaks it downfield on occasion and has a tremendous amount of future potential. The last pass catcher would be senior receiver Denaro Marriott, a wide out that steps up to make plays on occasion and will get draft consideration in the late frames. On the offensive line many are very high on tackle Steve Sciullo; we are not in that group. Sciullo is a tough, hard-nosed lineman that controls opponents at the line of scrimmage but a limited athlete with minimal range and abilities to play in space. Sciullo's best chance is at right tackle, possibly even guard, and we figure him to be a later (5th) round choice as of now.

Defensively the prospects Marshall offers are minimal; but then again that seems to be the situation every year. Safety Chris Crocker and cornerback Yancey Satterwhite are both relatively intelligent prospects with decent cover skills that will more than likely be brought into camps as free agents.




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