2021 NFL Draft: Marquez Stevenson Player Profile

Marquez Stevenson NFL Draft

Marquez Stevenson NFL Draft Overview

Position: Wide Receiver
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 180 pounds
School: University of Houston Cougars

Pro Day Performance Data

40-yard dash: 4.46 seconds
Vertical Jump: 33″
Broad Jump: 10’2″
Bench Press: N/A

More 2021 NFL Draft Profiles

Marquez Stevenson 2021 NFL Draft Profile

After breaking his collarbone in 2016 and tearing his ACL in 2017, the beginning of Marquez Stevenson’s career at the University of Houston was off to a rocky start.  In his sophomore year, he had 75 receptions, 1,019 yards, and 9 touchdowns. Although Stevenson is under six feet tall, he has a knack for the endzone. He was able to display his athleticism as a rusher too by rushing for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Also, he made the American All-Conference First Team in 2018. Stevenson was on pace to become one of the best wide receivers in school history.

In his junior year, Stevenson racked up another solid season with 52 catches, 907 yards, and 9 touchdowns. Even though his receptions and yardage totals decreased, he averaged a much higher yards per catch margin with 17.4. Once again, Stevenson shows his attraction for the red zone. He was able to show his versatility in 2019 by playing in the slot, the perimeter, and the backfield. As a player showing his potential to NFL scouts, Stevenson was showing his worth in his healthy two seasons playing for the Cougars. A skill that will help him in the NFL is his ability to return kicks which was on full display in 2019. Stevenson had 473 kick return yards with three touchdowns.

However, in an injury-shortened 2020 season, Stevenson and the Houston Cougars only participated in five games. In those games, Stevenson caught 20 balls for 307 yards and four TDs. Once again, Stevenson was able to show his talent with the big chunk plays. Even though he only caught four TDs, Stevenson still caught a TD on 20% of his catches. After three seasons of college football, what is evident is Stevenson is a skilled red zone target.

Strengths

  • Speed that can take the top off the defense;
  • Ability to separate;
  • Instant kick return starter;
  • Versatility to play multiple spots;
  • Plays under control.

Weaknesses

  • Limited route-running tree;
  • Catches balls with his chest rather than his hands;
  • Injury concerns;
  • Can get overwhelmed in press coverage by stronger defenders;
  • Lacks the ability to win 50-50 balls.

NFL Comparison: Johnny Knox

Teams With Need at Position: Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans

Draft Projection: Mid Sixth to Undrafted

Bottom Line on Marquez Stevenson

Stevenson’s best chance to succeed in the NFL is to play as a slot wide receiver who will primarily be used as a field stretcher while playing as a return man. Although Stevenson plays fast, he does not have straight-line speed shown by his subpar Pro Day with a 4.46 speed. This will negatively impact him during the draft process. Whichever team drafting Stevenson will have to work on his strength and route running.

Because teams are running 11 personnel more, a player with Stevenson’s skillset will be sought after. A player like Stevenson only needs four to six targets a game for his impact to be felt. At the very least, teams will need to account for him on the field by shifting a safety over to his side. If teams decide to man up with Stevenson but give him a free release, he showed in college that he was still able to create space with his crossing routes. Also, Stevenson showed that he was able to read zone coverages well and find those soft areas for solid gains.

The biggest negative trait about Stevenson is his injury history. He missed nearly three years due to serious injuries. His small frame will not help him either as he will have to play against bigger and faster players at the next level. As most know, there are linebackers and safeties that run faster than his previously mentioned 4.46 speed. He will need to learn how to avoid contact by giving himself up early to avoid injury like T.Y. Hilton does who has a similar body type. While he has the skills to play in the NFL, it will be telling to see if his body can hold up.

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