USC Trojans wide receiver Marqise Lee was my fourth-highest rated prospect at the position in the 2014 NFL Draft, and I was very surprised to see him tumble out of the first round. The Kansas City Chiefs and other WR-needy teams that seemed like excellent fits for Lee opted against taking him, and I was also surprised to see the Carolina Panthers draft Kelvin Benjamin instead. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported yesterday that Lee wouldn’t make it past the 21st pick in the draft, but he will make it past the 32nd pick at the very least.
I can’t see Lee taking a second day tumble either, so it will be interesting to see who lands the star wideout today. Why did he fall in the first place, though? Draft insider Tony Pauline reports that “there’s no denying” Lee slipped out of the first round due to “red flags” regarding his injured knee. Lee came into the draft with some concerns regarding his consistency, drops (a big issue due to his poor technique), and injuries after a down year in 2013, which was partially the fault of worse quarterback play.
Lee is an incredibly talented wideout who has all the tools to be a No. 1 receiver, as he is explosive after the catch, incredibly smooth in and out of his cuts, and he can make incredibly athletic grabs with a wide catch radius. Watch for him, Allen Robinson, Jarvis Landry, and Cody Latimer closely today, as these four receivers are all very talented and should be prime targets for teams in the second round. At this point in time, Lee is looking like a tremendous steal, and the prospect of seeing him on the Cleveland Browns with Johnny Manziel, Jordan Cameron, and Josh Gordon is something worth watching.