2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jonathan Marshall

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jonathan Marshall

by April 23, 2021 1 comment

Jonathan Marshall is a raw but scheme-versatile defensive lineman teams shouldn’t ignore in the later rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. Marshall’s flexibility and potential could land him a starting role in a multiple-front defense at the next level. He’s a natural fit as a 3-4 defensive end who can slide inside on passing downs.

Make sure to check out all of our other 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Player Bio

Name: Jonathan Marshall

Jersey: #42

Position: Defensive Line

School: Arkansas

Class: Redshirt Senior

Height: 6’3″

Weight: 317 lbs

Core Strength (2.5/5)

Marshall’s core strength is, in a word, inconsistent. He can anchor well in one-on-one situations, but Marshall will get pushed around by a double team. What you like is the quick first step, but the get-off needs to be allied with stronger and more aggressive hands.

Hands Usage (2/5)

Making the best use of his hands to put blockers on skates is still some ways off for Marshall. He needs a more violent initial punch and a stickier grip when extending underneath the pads of a guard or center. Part of the problem is how the Razorbacks asked Marshall to play over the pivot. It’s not a role ideally suited to his best traits.

Leverage (3.5/5)

Playing low is a strength of Marshall’s game. He will attack from ground to up against interior offensive linemen. His push in these situations is strong, but again, combining the initial movement with more active hands would put Marshall in the backfield more often.

Quickness (4/5)

You can split how effective Marshall is on the move into two categories. His initial steps are swift and decisive, often putting his blockers back on their heels early in a play. That nifty first step means Marshall could develop into an effective pass-rusher from the interior. Where Marshall needs work is in how he moves across the line of scrimmage. His range is limited when chasing plays down laterally. He’s not active enough when an offense tries to attack the edges.

Recognition (4/5)

Being played in multiple spots by the Razorbacks hasn’t helped Marshall’s draft stock. Evaluators find it tough to accurately judge his potential in any one position. However, the flip side of playing all across the line is Marshall has learned how to read different stances and the blocking actions that come from those looks. Take a play against Florida, where Marshall threw the center off before taking out the backside pulling tackle before he had a chance to get in front of the running back. A textbook example of a smart football play by a defensive lineman reading on the run.

Stance (5/5)

Another advantage of playing so many positions shows up in Marshall’s pre-snap technique. You’ll rarely see him line up without the right splits in his stance or the correct distribution of weight between his upper and lower body. He can play upfield by keeping his weight forward toward his extended hand in a three-point stance. Marshall’s excellent pre-snap form is the basis for his explosive takeoff.

Playmaking (2/5)

He wasn’t a full-time starter until his final season at Arkansas, but Marshall’s overall numbers are still less than inspiring. 71 combined tackles including 11.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. That’s middling production for a natural athlete with the potential to be more disruptive.

Intangibles (3.5/5)

Marshall played 42 games at a high level in the SEC. He didn’t miss a start in 2020 and became a team captain. That’s good preparation for the pros. So is his experience on special teams, a facet of his game that should help him stick on an NFL roster. A background in basketball only adds to the athletic potential of a lineman whose playmaking flair should be unlocked by NFL-level coaching.

Player Summary

Marshall’s a good athlete who will offer a defensive coordinator more options about how to deploy his linemen, even if a rotational role surely beckons as a rookie. He would make an early impact in a flexible 3-4 scheme that uses some one-gap principles. Marshall will work best lining up on the inside shoulder of an offensive tackle and playing the B-gap.

Final Grade (26.5/40): Day Three Pick

Player Comp: Stephon Tuitt


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