Marqise Lee was once considered to be a definite first-round pick after he had a stellar season in 2012. Lee recorded 118 receptions for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns, making him one of the hottest up-and-coming draft prospects in the country.
He followed his sophomore campaign with a disappointing junior season in 2013, which definitely hurt his draft stock. After his statistics lost him his status as a surefire first-rounder, Lee covered some ground with a strong combine performance this past week.
Lee was confident after turning in one of the better workouts of the wide receivers group, as he mentioned in this video:
The former USC Trojan showed off his athleticism in the vertical leap and the broad jump, tallying 38 inches and 10 feet, 6 inches, respectively. For being just 6'0", Lee showed that his vertical ability is such that he can go up and rip passes out of the air.
He may have ran an unexpectedly slow 40-yard dash (4.52 seconds) but, as Josh Katzenstein of The Detroit News points out, Lee has been known to have more game speed than straight-line speed anyways.
Marqise Lee is known more for game speed than straight line. If 4.5 is his time, it may hurt, but not that much.— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) February 23, 2014
Even so, a 4.52 40 time isn't that bad for a receiver.
His measurements caught many eyes at the combine, but it was the field drills where he truly shined. Lee managed to reel in every pass thrown his way in the gauntlet drill despite some shaky throws and also had some athletic grabs that certainly stood out against most.
In looking at where he might end up in the draft, the earliest he will likely go is in the mid-to-late first round, but could even be there in the early second round, as Peter Schrager, the senior NFL writer for FoxSports.com, predicts. He is definitely behind Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans on most teams' big boards and will likely be selected after them.
One of Lee's potential landing spots is at No. 23 with the Kansas City Chiefs, who desperately need another weapon for Alex Smith.
Is Marqise Lee the Chiefs' best choice at 23rd overall?
Kansas City met with the rising prospect at the combine (according to Terez Paylor of The Kansas City Star) and is in need of some fresh blood in its receiving corps.
It does have some talent at the position with Dwayne Bowe and A.J. Jenkins, but will need another receiver that could develop into a solid No. 2 across from Bowe. Lee has the size and speed to flourish in an offense like Andy Reid's and would be able to make an immediate impact if drafted.
Another possible landing spot for the former Trojan is with the Baltimore Ravens at No. 16. The Ravens took a major blow on offense when they traded Anquan Boldin, and it's pretty clear Joe Flacco's stats reflected that.
Pro Football Reference
They desperately need some more talent in their receiving corps, and Lee could certainly be of service. Baltimore is already set with a No. 1 receiver in Torrey Smith; it just needs someone who can work the middle of the field across from him.
The Ravens even met with Lee and some other receivers at the combine (via the The Baltimore Sun), and, according to Clifton Brown of CSN Sports, they may target Lee with the 17th pick.
Overall, Lee may have had a weaker finish to his collegiate career than many teams would've cared for, but his combine performance reaffirmed the fact that he is a great athlete who can contribute right away on most any team.