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Oregon football: NFL Draft Profile - WR/RB Byron Marshall

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Will Byron Marshall have his name called in the NFL Draft? And at what position?

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The big question about Marshall is how healthy will he be entering the NFL draft. Following an ankle injury that derailed his season mid-way through, how healthy is he exactly?  The good news is that he was able to have a full participation in the pro day for Oregon.

Combine Results

Although Marshall only participated in the bench press at the NFL combine, he did just about everything at the Oregon pro day. One question coming into the combine was what position Marshall would translate to in the NFL as he played both in college. Well during the pro day he participated in drills in both positions. Marshall’s 40 times came in at 4.58 seconds and 4.56 seconds. Although he’s not the biggest guy in the world at 5-9 and 3/8", he has a good frame on him as he weighed in at 208 pounds.

Strengths

How often do you see a 1,000 running back get moved positions to pave the way for other players? Well Marshall showed his grace at Oregon as he made the smooth transition between running back and wide receiver to allow the way for Royce Freeman.

During his last two seasons at Oregon, Marshall did a great job fitting in as a spot running back while also taking over as the slot wide receiver. He has very good hands that he uses to his advantage after he’s able to get into the open space thanks to his quick acceleration off the line. Made a multitude of difficult catches at Oregon, showing great in-air body control. His best season came in 2014 with his 1003 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

Weaknesses

As mentioned, it’s never a great thing to be entering the NFL Draft coming off of a season ending injury. By all indications, Marshall is recovered but he is obviously yet to see any game or practice action on the repaired ankle.

The other problem could be his versatility. NFL teams don’t have the same desire that college teams do for the "athlete" on offense. Instead, the NFL teams like when they can fit a player into a specific role, for example a third down running back or a slot receiver. Marshall was excellent in college doing both of those but to be quite honest I don’t know which of the two would be his best role in the pros. The other knock on Marshall is that he isn’t an excellent punt returner.

Comparison

I like a Darren Sproles / De’Anthony Thomas type comparison for Marshall. He doesn’t necessarily have the top level speed as those two but has many of the same traits. Thomas made the similar transition as Marshall moving from a more running back position to a full time wide receiver position.

Projection

Marshall looks to go anywhere in the 5th to 7th round range. The question though, is he drafted with the intention of being slotted at wide receiver or running back?

Oregon Career Stats