DB Marquise Blair, Utah

6’1” – 195 lbs. – 4.48

Originally attended Dodge City Community College, spending two seasons there before transferring to Utah for his junior season, a year in which he started six of nine games played before sustaining a season-ending injury (47 tackles, two passes defensed). Put together a full season to conclude his career, totaling 59 tackles, two interceptions, and two passes defensed. Has started at least one game at both safety spots and even one at outside linebacker. A tall, lanky player with an unorthodox usage relative to other safety prospects; was often taking snaps off the edge as essentially either a linebacker or as more of a box defender/edge rusher. Brings a good level of energy to the defense. Very fast defender with fluidity and flexibility; is able to provide tight man coverage on tight ends releasing into the flats or even bail out of blitzing looks into deeper zones. Has no problem running with opponents down the field on wheel routes or other releases out of the backfield. Would also take some snaps as a traditional deep safety, or shade over receivers in the slot, and that’s probably closer to what his role in the pros will be. Covers a lot of ground with his backpedal, demonstrating quick feet and good balance. Has loose hips and can make difficult spot drops; wasn’t playing single-high or halves that much in college, but is the type of athletic who can get over to the sidelines and provide help over the top on throws down the field. Not the caliber of run defender that his heavy usage in the box would indicate. At his best, can close off the edge and chase down ballcarriers from the backside. Likes to play downhill, but can be too aggressive in pursuit, overrunning spots and being sealed away from the play or being sucked in by misdirection. Doesn’t have the strength to play off of blocks effectively, frequently getting stuck just a split-second too long. That said, does close quickly when he’s able to find a path, with a wide tackling radius. Kind of a difficult evaluation because there’s a lot of projection necessary to imagine how he’d handle traditional deep-zone responsibilities, but there’s also a lot to like about his game, primarily his excellent athleticism, motor, and length. Teams who favor aggressive freelancing types may decide to take a chance on a versatile talent, whereas those who prize discipline may gravitate toward other options. Could probably play on special-teams and provide man coverage in sub packages earlier in his career.

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