By Chris Schisler
Marquise Brown is heading into the third year of his NFL career. At this point, it’s hard to say what the trajectory of his career will be. At the moment Brown is a good player looking on the outside of superstar status.
It’s hard to say if he’s even lived up to the status of being a first-round pick. He’s obviously not a bust. The Ravens have gotten some great moments out of Brown and he’s been Lamar Jackson‘s favorite weapon. Are A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf ahead of him at this point in their career? Maybe, but you don’t know how they would have panned out with the purple and black.
Marquise Brown: What are the expectations?
The reason it’s hard to judge Brown going into year three is that the Ravens are such a ground-and-pound offense. Brown was the leading receiver of the team with the fewest passing attempts in the NFL last season. The good news is that Brown has 15 touchdowns in two seasons. Last season he had eight touchdowns, the year before that he scored seven. That’s good production.
If you say the Ravens have gotten second-round value out of Brown, based on his numbers that would be fair. The problem is that would any of the wide receivers the Ravens could have brought in have done any better? The Ravens were not going to make a young receiver the most prolific wideout in football.
Brown has moments where he’s an unbelievable playmaker. The fourth-down touchdown against the Browns comes to mind. Lamar Jackson came back into the game and trusted his guy to make the play. Jackson’s trust in Brown can’t be ignored. Jackson hit Brown in the Cardinals game in 2019 for a game-winning first down in which Brown was smothered in coverage. Brown had two touchdowns against the Los Angeles Rams in the 2019 45-6 stomping on Monday Night Football.
The next Tyreek Hill or is he just what he is?
Drops and inconsistency are the things that get the Baltimore faithful impatient with Brown. Brown still has some untapped potential. We’re talking about a player who has a lot of the same traits as Tyreek Hill. Playing for Andy Reid and with Patrick Mahomes surely boosted Hill’s career. Brown hasn’t been in the easiest spot with the Ravens. It circles back to the point that Brown is a hard player to figure out.
The Ravens have Brown on his rookie contract through the 2023 season if they pick up his fifth-year option. A decision doesn’t have to be made right away. That being said, the Ravens have to get an idea of what they should do with Brown. Is he a player that they should try to keep in Baltimore his whole career? Is there another gear, another level of his performance?
What Brown does from here on out decides his future. What he has going for him is that Jackson and he have a great connection, and he has speed that you can’t coach. Brown needs to take the next step. The Ravens got him more help in the wide receiver group. It’s not just about Brown now, and that could help him be more productive. If Brown doesn’t take a step up this year or if Rashod Bateman exceeds expectations and surpasses him as the top target in Baltimore, that does Brown no favors.
The Bottom Line:
It may sound a bit simplistic but it’s quite simple. Marquise Brown decides what his future will be. His performance in the next two seasons will shape his career earnings and the amount of interest the Ravens have in giving him a second contract. There is a huge opportunity here. Brown having a 1,000 yard receiving season would be a huge way to start making a convincing argument.
Brown has to be the best receiver in Baltimore for a third straight year, but he can’t just keep at the same level as the 2020 season. 2021 Marquise Brown needs to bring a whole new excitement to this offense.