Can Nick Marshall Find Success in the Jaguars Secondary?
Two years ago, the Jacksonville Jaguars took a quarterback from Michigan and drafted him with the intention of playing running back on offense. After a tough rookie season where fumbles and lack of playing time were an issue, Denard Robinson fought for playing time with newly signed running back Toby Gerhart. Gerhart’s injury paved the way for this former quarterback to lead his team in rushing in 2014.
This season, the Jaguars are hoping for the same kind of transition and success from Nick Marshall the quarterback who led Auburn to the 2013 National Title game. Marshall wasn’t drafted in last weekend’s NFL Draft but Jacksonville saw enough of him in the Senior Bowl to believe he could be a find in the rookie free agent class, much like the team found success with Allen Hurns last year.
Can Marshall make the transition and can he be the preseason success story of this season for the upstart Jaguars?
Marshall moved from quarterback to cornerback prior to the Senior Bowl, where the South squad was coached by the Jaguars' staff.
The record-breaking quarterback is coming off a two-year career at Auburn that included an SEC title and a trip to the BCS National Championship. He threw for 4,508 yards and 34 touchdowns with 13 interceptions, and ran for 1,866 yards and 23 touchdowns during his career. He also shattered the school's single-game record for passing yards (456) and total yards (505) against Alabama.
According to AL.com, teams told Marshall at the NFL Combine they were exploring the possibility of adding him to their roster as a defensive back and No. 3 quarterback on a 53-man roster.
"I'm locked into defensive back right now, but to be on anybody's team I'll do what they want me to do," Marshall said in March. "It's just mostly about defensive back and being an emergency third-string quarterback and like a Wildcat package."
Whether Marshall would be used as a third quarterback in the team’s plans is unknown, but the potential for an athlete who plays quarterback to move to another position, one he has played before in high school and college, and find success is quite possible.
Marshall was invited to the combine as a quarterback and participated in some throwing drills. He threw to receivers at Auburn's Pro Day in March.
"Nick's got a cannon, he can throw the ball," Auburn receiver Sammie Coates said in March. "He can run, cut fast. He can catch on quick. He's one of those guys that do a great job no matter what he does. You can put him at cornerback, safety, running back -- he's going to be one of those guys that makes plays on the field."