“Red Flag” For Marqise Lee

April 30th, 2014

Will explosive Lee be there for Tampa in Round 2?

Lurking behind the paywall on BSPN.com lives all kinds of data on potential draft picks. It’s where stats gurus will tell you that Jadeveon Clowney isn’t a good pass rusher and explosive Southern California receiver Marquise Lee is a bust-in-waiting.

Lee is a consensus first-round pick after posting prolific numbers through his first three seasons.

Not so fast, says KC Joyner of BSPN, aka “The Football Scientist.”

Marqise Lee, WR, USC Trojans
Red flag: relatively low YPA when facing a cornerback or safety

According to a study I did reviewing the metrics of the top wide receivers in the 2014 NFL draft, Lee posted a 7.9 YPA when facing a cornerback or safety in direct coverage. That total ranked dead last among the eight pass-catchers in that analysis, and was more than 2 yards behind the next-lowest total in that statistic (Odell Beckham Jr., 10.0 YPA). It is also worth noting that the typical midpoint for an NFL wide receiver in this metric is generally in the 8.0 YPA range, so if Lee doesn’t improve this total, he may end up being a mid- to lower-tier wideout at the next level.

What a great example of the statistical appetizers the Bucs munch on routinely.

What does it all mean? Esteemed NFL Draft guru Mike Mayock says Lee is among the best five receivers in a very deep class of wideouts. Doesn’t Mayock, a former NFL safety, realize Lee can’t break free from a defensive back?

Perhaps Joyner is, in fact, on to something that could spook general managers. Lee is widely considered a late first-round pick. He’d look real nice on the board in the second round for the Bucs, especially if they have a shiny new quarterback already on the roster.

Joe can dream.

20 Responses to ““Red Flag” For Marqise Lee”

  1. Phillip Says:

    Was it just last year they used stats for or was it the whole career?? Obviously USC had horrible QB play this past year…

    I doubt he gets past the Panthers.. Seriously Cam is going to be throwing to Cotchery Underwood and Avant…

  2. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    This is one of those stats that has actual real-world value. The guy obviously struggles against man coverage. That is not a positive trait to have entering a league where the DB’s are all much faster and much more talented than in college. DC’s will use press-man on Lee every down and stifle him into mediocrity. I’ll pass on this guy in any round. He’s definitely not “speed in space”.

  3. bucrightoff Says:

    RE: The Panthers. I full expect them to try and make a move to get Sammy or Evans. Their WR corps is bad for a CFL team. We complain about VJax and a bunch of #3/4 guys, but at least we have VJax.

  4. tha truth is... Says:

    he’s a poor man’s Anquan Boldin, only smaller

  5. Phillip Says:


    They have other holes so I doubt they trade up… They need help on the Oline and 2 WR along with CB and S help… Lost a ton of people this year because of their crappy cap situation

  6. lovethepewter Says:

    I put little stock into this stat. He was hurt alomst all year with a knee injury (injury conerns a valid red flag) and he had no QB to throw him the ball. I’ll take him in the 2nd round all day.

  7. Matt B Says:

    Here is one of those stats that has ZERO real-world value. The number is low because USC constantly threw him screen passes because he IS so explosive. He can make a DB or safety look ridiculous with his jukes and speed. The problem in 2013 was that the defenses keyed on Lee so the second he caught these passes there were 4 guys converging on him. Remember, he won the Belitnikoff Award in 2012 for best receiver in college football. He had Robert Woods opposite him that year so defenses couldn’t focus on Lee as much. He was also hurt a lot in 2013. He even missed games with knee and ankle injuries. I know all this about Lee because I watch every single USC game.

  8. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Pass…hopefully the Bucs do too.

  9. Hawk Says:

    It’s even more troubling of an issue when you consider the fact that he wasn’t facing NFL calibre DBs every week. Pass (no pun intended) in any round.

  10. Alexstotle Says:

    When’s the last good USC WR? Steve Smith?

  11. bucbucbuc Says:

    Lee is a stud. Anyone who watched a good amount of Pac-12 football would tell you that. The guy’s a handful for defenses.

  12. BFFL Says:

    Mayock’s always overrates USC players.

  13. deminion Says:

    Lee can play dont believe the hype he is fast and quick

  14. Chris Says:

    I haven’t been and still not a fan of marquise lee. He struggles and lacks the physical ability to beat the jam. He won’t win many contested balls. A lot of his routes were screens and crosses. I know we are running more smoke routes and slants , but id prefer a wr that can be versatile.

  15. Harry Says:

    @bucrightoff Says:
    “…RE: The Panthers… Their WR corps is bad for a CFL team…”

    I may be wrong about this, but what the Panthers have done, or not done, this off season blows my mind. No starting WR returning?? Not one? I don’t care who they draft, it takes time for WR to develop in the NFL. So if they get lucky and one rookie WR turns in a pro type year next year? That give Cam one good WR and the Panthers will struggle next year, badly. Good for us!

  16. Hawk Says:

    bucbucbuc Says:

    “…The guy’s a handful for defenses.”

    Going by the statistics, he’s a “handful” only when the defense steps back a few yards and gives him room to run. NFL DCs aren’t going to be that nice. It might be that he can be ‘coached’ to break away from defenders, but *I* wouldn’t want to use a valuable draft pick on that hope.

  17. delson Says:

    Matt b took the words outta my mouth biletnikoff award. Best reciever award as a SOPHOMORE. Limited help n injuries held him back. I would draft him in the 20-25 range of the first

  18. White Tiger Says:

    The guy is only a handful for COLLEGE defenses…and the PAC-10 is not known for defensive secondary play…

    This is a telling stat – and with the advent of spread offenses greatly distorting offensive production – this may be one way to sort thru the noise.

    I don’t think the KC Joyner is saying Marquise Lee doesn’t have the tools…I think what he’s saying is – he hasn’t needed to do what the NFL requires receivers to do…face a corner/safety in direct coverage every PLAY, every WEEK!

    Despite what you think – Lee doesn’t appear to be ready for the NFL – and that means (to me) he should not even be considered in the first round.

    He still needs some development.

  19. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Derrek Carr and Anthony Barr also made the list.

  20. teacherman777 Says:

    Awesome football player.

    Intense competitor.

    I saw a great ESPN documentary about him.

    Hes an intense dude and he hates losing. Hes a little like Steve Smith.

    A real feiry WR.

    Go Bucs!