Gus Malzahn: Nick Marshall can play QB in the NFL

AP

Former Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall is being encouraged by NFL teams to learn to play defensive back if he wants to make it in the pros. But Marshall’s coach doesn’t think that’s necessary.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said on NFL Network that Marshall could play quarterback in the NFL, if a team puts him in an offense that fits his talents.

“I know he can be a quarterback at the next level,” Malzahn said. “It needs to be in the right system. You’re talking about a guy that’s probably one of the best zone-read quarterbacks in the history of college football. He’s got a unique skill set. He broke the school record against the most talented defense we faced last year [passing for 456 yards against Alabama]. So he’s got the ability, he’s got the knack to win games, when the game’s on the line, that very few quarterbacks have. So I believe he can play quarterback in the right system.”

The key words in that quote are “in the right system.” No one is saying Marshall can transform himself into the classic NFL pocket passer. That’s just not where his talents lie. But the NFL is increasingly finding room for quarterbacks who aren’t classic NFL pocket passers. A coach like Chip Kelly might decide to take a shot on Marshall in the later rounds of the draft and see what he can do in an innovative system.

Of course, Marshall does have some limitations as a passer, which is why there’s even a question about the position he’ll play in the NFL. But another reason there’s a question about it is that Marshall is a good enough athlete that he could play elsewhere. Malzahn sees that as a legitimate option.

“He’s a great athlete. He can play defensive back, he can play receiver, he’s got a great attitude, he’s a team player, and he just wants to help someone win,” Malzahn said.

More likely than not, Marshall will help someone win in the NFL by playing defense and special teams. But if a team is willing to put Marshall in the right system, and be patient while Marshall develops, there’s a chance that he may be an NFL quarterback.

13 responses to “Gus Malzahn: Nick Marshall can play QB in the NFL

  1. I mean, he was originally a DB when he was @ UGA, so its not completely out of left field for him to convert back to that role, but I understand what Malzahn is saying too…

  2. How??? Was average as grits in college……Be realistic with kids and advise them properly…not all college players can be pros…….

  3. “But if a team is willing to put Marshall in the right system, and be patient while Marshall develops, there’s a chance that he may be an NFL quarterback”
    ————————————————————–
    I think the last team that showed any patience while letting a QB develop was the Packers with Aaron Rodgers. Today’s NFL has thrown patience completely away, we’ll have to wait for a new era before developing young players returns again. Right now it’s the NBA model; get really young guys; throw them in immediately no matter how raw; hope for the best.

  4. The only system he would fit in would be the Eagles, but he would have to be a late round pick and would need to sit the bench a few years to learn.

  5. What would you expect Malzahn to say? That doesn’t mean it’s true. There are plenty examples of star college QBs who were better passers than Marshal and they couldn’t play QB in the NFL so why should anyone think Marhsall can? He could play QB in a Wildcat formation but I’m not convinced he’s an every-down QB.

  6. “The NFL is increasingly finding room for quarterbacks who aren’t classic NFL pocket passers.”

    That’s why there seem to be fewer and fewer teams that can be taken seriously as contenders. We could list 20 teams right now that have no shot at winning the Super Bowl next season – and this is before free agency and the draft. The biggest clue is who they have at quarterback.

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