As if the preseason drumbeat around Carolina Panthers rookie wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. needed to get any louder, it just did. The Panthers announced that as part of their roster cut downs, they have released wide receiver David Moore.
Marshall now finds himself as the No. 3 wide receiver on the depth chart behind DJ Moore and Robby Anderson, which lines up with the diverse usage that he saw during the preseason.
All signs point to Marshall having a large role in this offense as a rookie.
Marshall reunited with college position coach Joe Brady
During the historic 2019 LSU season that saw eventual No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow quarterback an offense that was seemingly unstoppable, Marshall was one of his receiving options. Also on the roster was receiver Justin Jefferson, who broke the NFL rookie receiving yards record last year, and Ja’Marr Chase, who was drafted fifth overall this year.
The passing game coordinator and wide receiver coach for that LSU squad was Joe Brady, who now presides as the offensive coordinator for the Panthers.
Joe [Brady] wrote him up like anybody else,” head coach Matt Rhule said, according to Panthers.com. “I mean, he’s a player that Fris[man] Jackson, our receiver coach, Joe, they had ranked at the top of the board. I think he was the second receiver taken today. To me, he’s a big outside guy. I think the biggest thing Joe said is he could play outside and inside which is really paramount in the things that we try to do.”
The “playing outside and inside” part of that statement was apparent in the preseason, as Marshall caught passes in a variety of ways. While he lined up primarily as a big-body slot receiver throughout the preseason, they also split him out wide, where he is more than capable.
Marshall took over the top receiver spot when Ja’Marr Chase opted out
After Ja’Marr Chase opted out of the 2020 college football season because of COVID-19 concerns, Marshall took over as the lead receiving option in the LSU offense.
He did not disappoint.
In seven games, he amassed 731 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, looking like a physically dominant and skilled wide receiver capable of being his team’s alpha receiver. He accounted for 59% of the team’s receiving touchdowns during those seven games.
The 6-foot-3, 200 pound wide receiver is a size/speed package. It shows on tape with his gliding running style, and it shows on paper with his 4.38 second 40-yard dash at the LSU Pro Day.
Simply put, he was a steal in the second round of the NFL Draft.
The Panthers third wide receiver was busy last year
Last year, Curtis Samuel acted as the slot receiver for the Panthers, and was heavily utilized. He reeled in 77 receptions for 851 yards and three touchdowns, and was also used in the rushing game with 40 carries.
It remains to be seen if the rushing game will be a part of Marshall’s repertoire, but the 6-foot-3 receiver stands four inches taller than Samuel and will provide a great boost to the passing attack, especially in the redzone.
The significance Marshall linking up with Brady can’t be understated. Combining the familiarity between Brady and Marshall with using similar playbook terminology as their time together at LSU, Brady will know how to get the best out of Marshall’s skillset and will put him in positions to succeed right away.
Marshall is a huge candidate to have a soaring rookie season, and Panthers fans should be thrilled for what’s ahead. So, speaking of that drumbeat — as they say in Carolina, “Keep Pounding.”