LSU has produced some pretty impressive talent in the last couple of years, and that National Championship team in 2019 might have been the most dominant college football team ever. The unrivalled success of the Tigers saw 14 players drafted the following April, tying the NFL draft record held by the 2004 Ohio State Buckeyes. Joe Burrow wasn’t short of weapons that season, and between Ja’Marr Chase & Justin Jefferson, the QB connected for 38 touchdowns and over 3,300 yards. Of course, Justin Jefferson went on to become the record holder for receiving yards as a rookie wide out, after being selected in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings. Ja’Marr Chase opted out, and was picked top 10 by the Bengals this year… but we are not talking about Terrace Marshall Jr enough.
While he might have been third on the depth chart behind those two LSU stars, Marshall collected 13 touchdowns of his own during that 2019 season, attributing 671 receiving yards. All while missing three games with a minor foot injury. In 2020, LSU were not as good of a team. They felt the crush losing more than 30 players from their National Championship team, as well as coordinators and coaches to other roles. One of which of course, was offensive mastermind Joe Brady, now with the Panthers. Yet still in 2020 Marshall found the end zone on 10 occasions, on over 700 yards receiving in only 7 games.
His numbers are not as impressive as those of Justin Jefferson or Ja’Marr Chase, but I don’t believe either of those guys would have put up those numbers in 2020 either. LSU faces struggles at quarterback dealing with life after Joe Burrow, the offensive line suffered, the run game wasn’t as effective, and Joe Brady had moved on. They regressed heavily as a unit in 2020, and you can’t really blame them.
Now imagine that Terrace Marshall Jr wasn’t third on the depth chart during that 2019 season… Or that he’d had QB consistency and a full season of games to play in 2020? He’d have been a first round pick for starters. The 6’3″ prospect has NFL size, and has shown dominance in college both on the perimeter and in the slot. You can plug and play him anywhere, and I’d like to see the Carolina Panthers move him around and use him in different packages.
My point here is, that for value, I have Terrace Marshall Jr above Ja’Marr Chase. Getting him at pick 59, and considering the production he could provide in Carolina immediately, he’s a total steal. I’m adamant that the only reason he wasn’t picked in the top 20 is opportunity, and I’m convinced that that’s going to work heavily in the favour of the Carolina Panthers. With offensive coordinator Joe Brady more than aware of his capabilities, they can get the best out of him right out of the gate, and he’s a dark horse for being one of the most productive rookie receivers in the league this year.
Of course, the Panthers have a lot of weapons offensively. But with Curtis Samuel making way in the off season, there’s a window of opportunity in the slot. During the preseason, Marshall ranged around 65% on snaps from the slot position. How that transitions into the regular season we will have to wait and see, but I love this pick, and the fit with DJ Moore and Robby Anderson. Plus the return of Christian McCaffrey. If Sam Darnold can get clicking with these guys on the offence, the Panthers could be closer behind the Bucs in the NFC South than we might initially think.