NFL draft prospect Marquise Brown, who grew up an Eagles fan, isn’t really the ‘Hollywood’ guy his nickname suggests
He is the player most often mentioned in mock drafts as the Eagles' first-round pick at 25th overall
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The player most often projected in mock drafts as an Eagles pick grew up a fan of the team, it turns out.
“I started off just fond of them – when I turned on the TV they had T.O., Brian Westbrook, [Donovan] McNabb, and I just always followed them, I guess,” Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown said Wednesday.
Brown, 21, is widely compared to Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson because of his speed and his 5-10, 170-pound frame. Brown said he met Jackson briefly at a football camp when Brown was a teenager.
“I feel like we have some similarities, our stride is similar … . He just makes plays, and I make plays. I can see the comparison,” Brown said.
The Eagles are scheduled to pick 25th overall in Thursday’s first round. Though they reacquired Jackson this spring after a five-season absence, he is 32 and has battled injuries. Long-term, the Eagles could use Brown’s electric presence.
“I’m really trying to score from any point. First play of the game, I’m ready to score right now,” said Brown, who blazed to 17 touchdowns in his two seasons at Oklahoma. “I feel like I can score from anywhere on the field, and I’m going to bring that aggressive approach to wherever I go.”
For all that, Brown comes off as soft-spoken and thoughtful. Just three years ago, he was attending a junior college, the College of the Canyons, in Santa Clarita, Calif., working on a roller coaster called “Full Throttle” at Six Flags Magic Mountain, even though he does not enjoy such rides. He usually had $20 a week left for food, so most of his groceries came from Family Dollar, he said. Lots of ramen.
A misconception has grown up around his Oklahoma nickname, “Hollywood.” That’s a reference to Brown’s hometown, Hollywood, Fla., which is not exactly Tinseltown.
“I see a lot of guys on TV talking about my nickname, saying this and that, saying I need to be humble,” Brown said. “I’m the most humble guy ever. They don’t know me, but they have jobs to do, so I understand that.”
There also might be some guilt by association at work there; Brown is distantly related to Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown (their fathers are cousins), whose public displeasure with the Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger forced Brown’s exit from Pittsburgh.
“He just taught me how to be a pro and how to work,” Marquise Brown said of Antonio. “Keeping me level-headed and telling me what it’s going to take.”
Brown underwent offseason Lisfranc foot surgery and will not be able to run until training camp. But NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said Wednesday that Brown is a first-round talent, and not just because this is a relatively lean draft year at the position.
“There’s no Julio Jones, there’s no A.J. Green, none of those guys in this draft, but I think he’s a first-round-caliber player in most drafts," Jeremiah said. "If he’s healthy, I think, no doubt.”
“Some teams are just philosophically opposed to taking a smaller wideout. He’s not as thick and strong as [Kansas City’s] Tyreek Hill, but just the way that Tyreek Hill impacts a football game, with his speed, this kid does a lot of those same things.”
Jeremiah said that if Eagles fans end up with Brown, they’ll see him make the kinds of plays Jackson makes, and he will give the offense something else Jackson provides. Defenses must remain wary anytime he’s on the field.
“When you’re in run game, you’re never going to see a safety down there," Jeremiah said. "It impacts the rest of the game.”