Ravens WR Marquise Brown is proving he’s not a draft bust

Ravens, Marquise Brown (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ravens, Marquise Brown (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown took his sweet time, but he may be developing into a bonafide red-carpet star in 2021.

Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report recently revealed a list of NFL youngsters who appear to be shedding the bust label in 2021. Knox examined players in their second and third seasons who struggled early in their career but seem to be turning things around this season.

Ravens’ Marquise Brown made the list for his substantial improvement. Knox explains:

"“Jackson is passing more frequently than in years past, and Brown has become his top option. Though Brown missed Week 11 with a thigh injury, he came into the week leading the Ravens in targets (82), receptions (52), receiving yards (719) and receiving touchdowns (6)….Brown is also morphing into more than a complementary deep threat.”"

The third-year pro has been the most reliable wideout in the Ravens’ recent history, but he never exploded early on due to Baltimore’s scripted run-heavy offensive schemes and his own inconsistencies.

As the 25th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Oklahoma product didn’t exactly tank in his rookie year, but he didn’t quite meet expectations either.

In 2019, Brown recorded 584 receiving yards and seven touchdowns and only marginally improved his numbers in the year after. Wideouts who were selected after him — Deebo Samuel, A.J. Brown, DK Metcalf — flourished as Brown flatlined.

Ravens WR Marquise Brown is starting to shed his bust label in 2021

Now, in 2021, Baltimore has made deliberate choices (as well as choices necessitated by injuries) to improve the passing game, and no one has benefitted more than Brown.

Last season, Baltimore ranked last in the league in pass attempts. This season, they rank solidly in the middle of the pack in 16th.

Coincidentally, Brown has recorded nearly as many receiving yards as he did last year, but in a little more than half the amount of games.

In nine games, Brown has caught 52 passes for 719 yards and six touchdowns which, as Knox already pointed out, are team-highs. He’s averaging 13.8 yards per reception this year, which is only slightly better than his 13.3 yards per reception from 2020, but his impact on this Ravens team has been tremendous.

Though Mark Andrews is still Lamar Jackson’s favorite target, Brown is no doubt the WR1 of Baltimore’s offense.

Brown’s absence in Week 11 meant other wide receivers got the opportunity to shine against a limp Chicago Bears side, but no one could fill his shoes. After Brown, the next wide receiver with the most yardage this season is Sammy Watkins (347 yards).

Had Watkins not missed so many games due to injury, he may be closer to Brown in receptions and yards, but as it stands, Brown remains the most trustworthy player in the Ravens’ wide receiver corps.

The only difference is he’s now seen as a dynamic threat, rather than an inconsistent threat, to utilize in the Ravens’ offensive schemes.

Next. 3 players who led to Ravens to victory against the Chicago Bears in Week 11. dark

It’s nice to see Brown’s talents finally being recognized.