Marquise “Hollywood” Brown does not lack speed, or confidence.
Brown gets his nickname from his hometown of Hollywood, Fla., but he doesn’t mind the spotlight that comes from being one of the top wide receivers in this year’s NFL draft. He is among the 23 players invited to attend the draft in Nashville. He has more than 45,000 Twitter followers. And he is keeping those followers abreast of his workout routine, as he attempts to add strength to his blazing speed.
But here’s a question for the Ravens. Should they risk a first-round pick on a wide receiver who will be one of the NFL’s smallest players? A receiver who relies on speed, but who is coming off Lisfranc foot surgery?
At the Combine, Brown was asked whether he was more dangerous outside or in the slot. He couldn’t decide.
“I can play outside, (or) take a comeback, and take it to the house,” Brown said. “I feel that I can play both pretty well.”
Brown measured 5-foot-9, 166 pounds at the Combine, making him a wisp of a receiver compared to physical specimens in this year’s class like D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown of Ole Miss, or N’Keal Harry of Arizona State, or Hakeem Butler of Iowa State. Some scouts feel Hollywood Brown’s slight stature is an obstacle.
However, Brown’s explosiveness is undeniable. Last season, he had 75 catches for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 17.1 yards per catch. It’s not hard to find Hollywood’s highlights. Brown and quarterback Kyler Murray, who might be the No. 1 player taken in the draft, were a dynamic duo at Oklahoma.
Brown’s cousin is Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, so playmaking runs in the Brown family. Hollywood is often compared to DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles, listed at 5-foot-10, 175 pounds. Jackson has played 11 years, produced five 1,000-yard seasons, and has topped 10,000 career yards receiving while averaging 17.4 yards per catch.
ESPN’s Todd McShay believes Brown will be a special playmaker.
“He’s the only wide receiver in this class that I feel great about in the first round,” McShay said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever evaluated a wide receiver with the better combination of quickness and speed than Hollywood Brown. This guy is unbelievable. After the catch, good luck. He does this over and over again and this is today’s NFL game. I don’t see receivers like this in the NFL draft very often.”
Brown’s ability to stretch the field could add a lethal dimension to the Ravens’ offense. Imagine opposing defenses crowding the line of scrimmage to stop the read option featuring quarterback Lamar Jackson and a heavy run game with Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards. Imagine Brown using his speed to go deep four or five times per game, possibly against one-on-one coverage. Hollywood could play well in Baltimore.
Reports are that Brown is recovering well from his January foot surgery, and many still believe he’ll be the first wide receiver taken. NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks ranks Brown as his top receiver in the draft over A.J. Brown, Harry, Metcalf, and Deebo Samuel of South Carolina.
Don’t expect Hollywood to disagree.
“I feel I’m the most explosive and dynamic (receiver),” Brown said.