Name: Gabe Marks
School: Washington State
Position fit: Slot receiver
Stats to know: When targeting Marks over the past two years, Washington State QBs have thrown 28 touchdowns to just three interceptions and have a QB rating of 119.8.
What he does best:
- Pac-12 all-time receptions leader with 316 catches.
- Fantastic route-runner. Can run variety of short, intermediate and deep routes and runs them all well. Doesn’t give them away and makes crisp breaks.
- More quick than fast. Very good acceleration, does not take long to get to top speed. Can change direction without losing any speed.
- Phenomenal footwork at the line of scrimmage. Can beat press coverage very quickly. Can get inside or outside of defender (depending on what route he’s running) consistently.
- Very strong hands when catching away from his body. Can hold on to ball in contested situations or when he’s hit right after the catch.
- Great underneath receiver, can find holes in zones and knows how to settle into them.
- Good tracking skills when ball is in the air.
- Incredible production 2015-16 with a combined 193 catches on 281 targets for 2085 yards, 824 yards after the catch and 28 TDs.
- Hard worker, emotional leader with a very high football IQ.
- Plays with a feisty and competitive mentality.
- Not phenomenal straight-line speed. Ran a 4.56 at the NFL combine and that’s about what he looks like on tape. Won’t just run away from defenders.
- Occasionally lets ball into his chest on catches, and that’s where most of his drops came from.
- Small, not overly strong receiver. Can get bodied on deep routes.
- Doesn’t offer a ton in terms of making defenders miss after the catch. Will often just put his head down and try to get as much as he can but rarely forces a missed tackle. Forced only four missed tackles on 90 receptions in 2016.
- Projects as a slot receiver but only ran routes from the right side of field at Washington State so will need to learn other side of the field.
Bottom line: Marks is a very interesting mid-round prospect. His tape showed that he was far more than just a product of Washington State’s system, and he should be able to translate that to NFL success. Because of his size and strength and lack of straightaway speed, Marks will likely be relegated to a slot role, with the ability to jump outside in certain situations. But his route running, quickness, hands and toughness should all carry over to the NFL. He’ll likely never be a team’s No. 1 receiver, but he should be able to carve out a productive role out of the slot for a team.