RSP Film Room No.21: Auburn QB Nick Marshall

Nick Marshall

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn says Nick Marshall can become an NFL quarterback. Alex Brown of Optimum Scouting and I watch the QB and discuss.

As quick as I’m offering you a chance to study Nick Marshall, I’m asking you to forget him for a brief moment. Watch this film room session because you’re going to learn a lot about scouting quarterback play and gain some introductory insights into the politics, the economics, and other dynamics of pro football that contribute to the rapid rise and fall, or stunted development of arguably the most important position in the NFL.

Marshall has the athleticism and arm of Michael Vick. Alex Brown and I explain why a prospect of Marshall’s seductive physical skills are a source of football ecstasy and frustration for teams seeking a starting quarterback. We not only discuss the fundamentals of the position, but also cover subjects important to a good evaluation:

  • Pocket presence/handling pressure
  • Touch
  • The importance of mechanics (footwork, stance, release, and delivery)
  • Why football is more performance than science and how it relates to quarterbacking
  • The pros and cons of the read option quarterback/athlete in the NFL and the contrasts between Robert Griffin, Colin Kaepernick, and Russell Wilson
  • Where Blake Bortles regressed this year, why it happened, and how it relates to quarterback development
  • Good techniques Marshall displays as a passer that are difficult to teach
  • Where Marshall has improved physically and conceptually as a passer
  • Where his decision-making and feel for the game as a passer is still “wooden”
  • Other positions that could be a good fit for Marshall

Plus, there’s a 63-yard throw on a line and a few other displays of athleticism are hard not to watch multiple times.

For analysis of skill players in this year’s draft class, download the 2014 Rookie Scouting Portfolio – available now. Better yet, if you’re a fantasy owner the 56-page Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2014 RSPs at no additional charge. Best, yet, 10 percent of every sale is donated to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse. You can purchase past editions of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio for just $9.95 apiece. 

Get the early bird discount by pre-ordering the 2015 RSP now through February 10! 

Categories: 2015 NFL Draft, Matt Waldman, Players, Quarterback, RSP Film Room HangoutsTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Matt, love the RSP film room. I’ve been steadily delving deeper and deeper into understanding the game and learning how to scout players and the RSP has been my favorite stop. So happy that you go deeper than stats or the old cliches or “he’s got a cannon” etc.

    Just curious, but I just started watching Mariota, and I’m curious where you would rank him if he came out last year with Bridgewater. Like you, I was high on Teddy and honestly, at least after watching Cal and UCLA tape, I grade Mariota around the same even though their styles are different. I see a little Russell Wilson to Mariota, where he’s a great improviser, runs with purpose, and despite all that’s going on seems to have a good grasp of the situation. That said, Wilson seems to have better deep ball accuracy and arm strength and I think Wilson is able to make plays Mariota doesn’t because of the arm strength. Like Bridgewater, I see Mariota struggle with deep ball accuracy and I see the ball wobble on deep throws. I think Bridgewater was better at navigating the pocket in college and showed more polish going through progressions, but I think Mariota is a better improviser and more difficult to defend as a runner. When it’s all said and done though, I think they are about the same grade for me.

    Just wondering if you share that opinion or if you think higher of one over the other.

  2. Hey John,

    Glad you’re finding the RSP Film Room valuable. I’m still in the process of evaluating Mariota so I don’t know if it’s fair for me to share what I think just yet. The reason is I haven’t seen enough of certain scenarios I like to witness in a game to feel I have a strong grasp of his overall skill and tendencies. But if you don’t mind me speculating, I’m more impressed with Bridgewater at this early stage of my evaluation of Mariota. Still a lot more for me to watch, so stay tuned.

    Thanks again for reading and watching. I’ve got more tape to study this morning, so I have to go.


  3. Hey, Matt. Huge fan of this series (admittedly, I’ve only watched the quarterback episodes).

    Maybe I am being nit-picky, but at the 34:30~ mark when he rolls out and bombs it to Coates for a TD, I didn’t see that as a positive play from a prospective point of view. He has three receiving options to his left and plenty of space in the pocket to move up and make a throw, but he gets antsy, leaves the pocket and forces himself into improvising. Why do that? I want to see him take the plays more easily available instead of playing willy-nilly and forcing riskier situations like that. Luckily, he had the arm to make it work, but I don’t see that flying in the NFL.

  4. Hey D,

    If you listen again, you’ll notice I said it’s one of the most ridiculous plays I’ve seen in terms of physical talent, but I didn’t say it was a great play in terms of concept. He definitely breaks down the pocket too early and decided on this deep route hell or high water. I’m just pointing out the sheer aesthetics of a guy who can do what he did on the play as a pure thrower. Thanks for enjoying these and commenting on the situation. Obviously, we’re gushing over the physical talent, but listening to it again, I believe we’re not praising him for his decision making whatsoever.

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