The Saints are in their final prep mode for the NFL draft, as they're set to make at least one selection on Thursday night. Who that ultimately will be remains to be seen and is anybody's guess. Although it might not sound the most appealing for New Orleans to take at 28th, a wide receiver is somewhat a need for the team this season. We take a look at LSU's Terrace Marshall Jr., who hopes to have his name called in Round One.
Terrace Marshall Jr. had a killer 2020 season as the primary receiving threat for the Tigers, despite playing in just seven games after choosing to opt out of the rest of the year in late November. Prior to the opt-out, he had racked up 48 catches for 731 yards (15.2 average) with 10 touchdowns. He is one of several stellar wide receivers to come out of LSU's program lately, and looks to join Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase with next level success.
Marshall Jr. has good vision and ball-tracking skills, and can make some contested catches look easy. His hands are a strength naturally, but has also had some bad drops. He tends to shine in man coverage, being able to give you a variety of routes underneath, on the sideline, and everything in between while lining up in various spots in the formation. There's times you watch his route-running and marvel at how effortlessly he can do it. He also is a big threat after the catch, bringing elusiveness to the table and showing another gear in space.
Run-blocking seems to be the biggest opportunity for him, as he's average at best. Some of the tape shows that he bounces right off of corners on contact. It'll be something he needs to polish up on the next level, but overall, he's going to make his pro team very happy when they pick him. He could be a late first-rounder, but will go no later than the early second round.
Pro Day Measurables and Results
- Height: 6-2 5/8"
- Weight: 205 pounds
- Arm: 32 3/4"
- Wing: 78 1/8"
- Hand: 9 1/2"
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.38 Seconds
- Vertical Jump: 39"
- Broad Jump: 10'5"
- 20-Yard Shuttle: Did Not Participate
- 3-Cone: Did Not Participate
The Case for the Saints
Wide receiver doesn't get talked about a ton, but is always an area that New Orleans could benefit from. Emmanuel Sanders is out of the mix, and a huge bounce back season is expected out of Michael Thomas. So, that leaves the Saints with an interesting situation. Regardless of whether it's Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston starting in 2021, this is going to be a Sean Payton offense that will be able to push the ball down the field a lot more this season.
Outside of Thomas, there's some hope that Tre'Quan Smith turns things up a notch in a contract year, while Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris could have more of a defined role in the offense. Still, there's not really a definitive second option for the Saints right now, and Marshall Jr. could be a nice compliment to Thomas with tremendous upside.
Will New Orleans actually take a wide receiver in the first round? The reality is probably not because of their more pressing needs. It hasn't been done since 2014 (Brandin Cooks), and the skill position has only been drafted four times under Sean Payton in Round One. You can also insert that whole Saints and their track history of drafting LSU players thing too, something we talked about earlier in April.