FOX's Gus Johnson Expects Big Things From Marquise Brown
While it's true Marquise Brown's "Hollywood" nickname comes from the fact that Hollywood, Fla., is his hometown, it certainly fits the Ravens' first-round draft pick's flashy style of play at Oklahoma.
The speedy wide receiver was given the moniker by FOX college football announcer Gus Johnson, who coined it the first time he saw Brown play in 2017 in a game against Kansas State. Johnson spoke about origin of "Hollywood" to Glenn Clark Radio recently.
"All of a sudden, early on, this little fast dude was just making catches, and I was just like, 'Wow!'" Johnson recalled. "I looked down at my roster and said, 'Marquise Brown from Hollywood, Florida. Hollywood, Florida.' And I kept looking at him and said, 'The boy from Hollywood can play!'
"When we would watch him through the binoculars -- I remember he ran a route, made the catch, did something and ran up the field. And I was looking at him through the binoculars, and I leaned over to my spotter and said, 'Is it me, or is this kid really running that fast?'"
Johnson said he expects big things from Brown as a pro.
"When you've seen what I saw, you're going to be like, 'Oooh, I see,'" Johnson said. "This kid has 'Cool Papa Bell' speed . Do you know how fast that is? They say [baseball Hall of Famer] Cool Papa Bell was so fast that he could turn the lights out in a room and be in bed before the room got dark.
"I like winners, and I think this kid is a winner. I think he's going to come out there and work his tail off to get on the same page with Lamar [Jackson] and the rest of the offense, and it's going to be something to see."
Johnson told Clark that beyond Brown's talent on the field, he has been impressed by how Brown has overcome adversity, whether it's his humble upbringing or being labeled too small to make it in football.
"I don't know all the kid's stories, but I've never seen a kid with the kind of perseverance that he has," Johnson said. "And to see someone persevere, and the way he showed his emotions [when he was drafted] -- you saw the hard work pay off. You saw the tears in his eyes."
Ravens' Biggest Needs Coming Out of Draft
Ravens Wire's Matthew Stevens listed what he believes are the Ravens' four-biggest needs coming out of the draft and heading into the next wave of free agency.
At the top of his list is inside linebacker. (We discussed the Ravens' need at that position in Tuesday's Late for Work.)
"Though the Ravens seem to be content letting Patrick Onwuasor and Kenny Young take over, it's slim pickings behind them on the defensive depth chart," Stevens wrote. "Any injury would be disastrous for this unit, and the limited starting experience could mean a big drop for the center of Baltimore's defense."
Surprisingly, wide receiver also made the list.
"You'd think selecting two wide receivers in the draft would have fixed the problems Baltimore had at that position. Largely it did," Stevens wrote. "But if the Ravens are going to have a truly complete wide receiver corps for quarterback Lamar Jackson, they need a possession receiver with great hands.
They have plenty of outside speed now but few options inside, where the Ravens' passing offense was focused last year. Willie Snead was a solid slot option last year but drops plagued him, as they did every other wideout on the roster.
"This is where the Ravens' love of older wide receivers in the second wave of free agency could really help them. They don't need a player who will catch 80 passes or will go for 1,000 yards each year for the next five years. They really just need a consistent pressure-relief valve as depth in case their draft picks take longer to develop than expected."
Here are the other positions of need, according to Stevens:
Outside linebacker: "The pass rush hasn't been fixed, though it's far better than it was going into the draft. Jaylon Ferguson's selection in the third round gives Baltimore another player to rotate into the lineup. Ferguson has the upside to play a three-down outside linebacker, but he might not be there right now."
Center: "After drafting guard Ben Powers to add immediate depth and competition for the starting left guard spot, center is the only remaining hole on the offensive line. The Ravens will have Matt Skura and likely Bradley Bozeman competing for the starting job in training camp. But if Baltimore could find a legitimate Week 1 starter in free agency, they'd be fools to pass him up."
Ravens Impressed With Trace McSorley's Arm
The Ravens selecting former Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley in the sixth round was a bit of a surprise and immediately led to comparisons to New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill, who was used last season as a "gadget player" on offense.
While Ravens officials love McSorley's versatility, they also were impressed with his arm.
"When asked, [Ravens General Manager Eric] DeCosta also declared that McSorley graded out well as a pure passer," Penn Live's Aaron Kasinitz wrote. "Before the Ravens decided McSorley's athleticism and leadership made him an ideal fit in the sixth round, Baltimore put the three-year Nittany Lions starter through a variety of quarterback drills during his pre-draft visit to the team's headquarters."
Much like Lamar Jackson, McSorley faced questions about his viability as a passer heading into the draft. Some analysts believed he should pursue a career as a safety in the NFL.
"McSorley never budged off his commitment to stay at quarterback," Kasinitz wrote. "In Baltimore, he'll have the chance to play behind center — an opportunity DeCosta said he earned with a stellar spring workout."
Said DeCosta: "It was a very intensive workout, and he was really, really impressive. He threw the ball well in the pocket, on the move. He competed. He was in phenomenal shape. He was accurate, and he showed a live arm. I think that's really important."
NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal listed Jackson among the players who were helped most by the 2019 draft. "In rookies Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin and Justice Hill, Baltimore drafted three of the top players at their respective positions in athletic testing scores," Rosenthal wrote. "Combine them with a quarterback possessing one of the best running skill sets to ever enter the league, and offensive coordinator Greg Roman has a lot of exciting options for how to stretch a defense."
On NFL Network's "Good Morning Football," Marquise Brown got a mention as a potential AFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week 1.