2019 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Marquise Blair
School: The University of Utah
Weight: 180 pounds
Rounds Projection: Day 2
To his credit, Blair immediately inserts himself into every play. With outstanding first step, he closes on the play. As a safety, playing downhill should come naturally. For Blair, he arrives to the point of contact early. On the other hand, in coverage, Blair shows the ability to cover a wide array of receivers. From the deep middle to intermediate, he stays with the receiver throughout the routes. When singled, and no help, Blair possesses the long speed needed to combat the fly route.
As mentioned, Blair shows the range to handle many assignments. While his speed helps him with receivers, his frame gives him assistance with tight ends. However, Blair must fight the urge of overpursuit. He quickly diagnoses a play and barrels towards the target, but he will occasionally overshoot the receiver. As a result, sound coaching will help Blair throttle it down and help. If he were passive, that would be more of a problem.
Despite playing only two years at Utah, Blair started to discover a knack for breaking up passes and making sound plays on the ball. Whereas he would use brutality to dislodge the ball, he is using his hands and long arms to knock the ball away in a heartbeat. In addition, his height and athleticism gives him the advantage when he needs to highpoint the ball. Versus taller receivers, Blair should not worry about going vertical, if need be.
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If you watch Blair on film, you can quickly appreciate the level of force. In all honesty, there are few hitters at safety in college that brings the violence like him. Maybe Mississippi State’s Johnathan Abram, but that list remains short. Blair just runs through the target. In contrast, he does have the technique down and will wrap and drive through the target. Now, it is the harnessing the energy. A sound DB coach will love to have Blair’s level of talent.
In reality, the Raiders employ one decent safety and many journeymen/misfits. Karl Joseph, finally off the bench, finished 2018 strong. Yet, who plays the bookend? Now, Blair is a plus and play safety that offers range and hitting. In the deep third, Blair would give the Raiders a safety that improves coverage and hits with reckless abandon.