ESPN’s Todd McShay has the Denver Broncos drafting Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown in his mock draft 1.0.
The 21-year-old junior, a cousin of Pittsburgh Steelers star Antonio Brown, would be a surprise choice for the Broncos with so many needs at other positions, including the offensive line and cornerback.Embed from Getty Images
While McShay projects the Broncos to draft 18th overall, there are a number of teams ahead that could take Brown off the board earlier.
Unlike McShay, Pro Football Focus analyst Steve Palazzolo had Brown as the second wide receiver off the board after Ole Miss star AJ Brown in his first 2019 mock draft back in September.
However, Palazzolo had Hollywood dropped to the fourth receiver off the board at 22 to Seattle in his second 2019 mock draft in October.
Trying to predict the draft is an almost impossible task, but should the Broncos go after another receiver after taking Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton in the second and fourth rounds of the 2018 draft?
The Broncos last took a wide receiver in the first round was in 2010, when they used the 22nd overall pick on Georgia Tech’s Demaryius Thomas.
After a stellar career in Denver, Thomas was traded to Houston earlier this season and, with Emmanuel Sanders turning 32 in March, Broncos general manager John Elway could be tempted to bring in one of college football’s fastest receivers to light up the Mile High City.
A 5-10, 170-pound native of Hollywood, FL, Brown is smaller than Sanders but would give the Broncos an explosive, impact player comped to DaeSean Jackson by one analyst.
Former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield said last season that Brown is faster than wide receiver Dede Westbrook, which is a bold statement.
Westbrook, who was drafted in the fourth round by Jacksonville, ran a 4.34 in the 40-yard dash at Oklahoma’s pro day in 2017.
Brown worked out with cousin Antonio during the offseason and having one of the NFL’s best receivers as a mentor certainly made a difference.
Known mostly for his speed, Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley noted that Brown had matured and become a “really good football player” ahead of his second season, and is a regular target for 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray.
While Sutton is already replacing Thomas as the big body threat on jump balls and using his size to pick up yards after contact, Brown could be a deep threat that the Broncos currently lack.
In his sophomore year, Brown had 57 receptions for 1,095 yards (19.2-yd average) and seven touchdowns in 13 games, while so far in 2018 Brown has 75 receptions for 1,318 yards (17.6-yd average) and 10 scores.
How he performs in the Orange Bowl against the vaunted Alabama defense on Saturday, December 29 should determine whether or not Brown remains a first-round prospect.
If the Broncos draft Brown, it would be the first time Elway has taken a skill player in the first round since he became general manager in 2011, but it would also give quarterback Case Keenum another huge weapon as the team continues to rebuild.