Curtis Marsh: A potential top-five CB prospect?

One of the most frequent e-mails I have received over the past month since the launch of the NFP draft page is: Why do you have Curtis Marsh as a top five cornerback prospect…and who is he?

Curtis Marsh is a 6-0, 194-pound, long-armed cornerback from Utah State. He’s only a one-year starter at the position following the move from running back after the 2008 season.

I will admit that coming into 2010, I never even heard of Marsh. However, as I was grinding my way through tape late in the year and was watching Utah State vs. Boise State, there was one guy who made it nearly impossible for Broncos wideouts Austin Pettis and Titus Young to consistently gain separation from. Sure enough that’s when I discovered Marsh.

Marsh did a great job of fluidly turning to run down the field vertically with Young – one of the few cornerbacks in the nation who was able to be successful with that task. He also displayed impressive make-up speed when he gave up a step vertically and was physical/balanced enough in press man to routinely re-route off the line.

Now, being a former running back and only making the move to corner two years ago, there are still some rough spots to his game. He still gets a bit upright and leggy in his drop at times, which causes him to waste some motion when trying to make plays on the football. And his overall feel for quickly snapping his head around and locating the throw at times is questionable. But again, he’s only played the position for two seasons and in my view has the ability to mature quickly in both areas with the help of some NFL coaching.

Plus, he’s an under-the-radar type guy who at Utah State didn’t receive nearly the attention he deserved. However, despite not playing at a big FBS university he still got an invitation to the Senior Bowl -- which he was unable to perform in due to a pulled hamstring -- and has been one of the main prospects that kept coming up in my conversations with West coast area scouts following the season.

The way I see it, at 6-0, 193 pounds, he’s got the size, length and body control to be an effective press corner in the NFL --being a great fit for a team like the Packers/Raiders-. And it’s at the Combine where I think he starts to really get a lot of media hype going his way and begins to see a spike in his stock. I expect him to run very well for his size, possibly in the sub 4.4 range. And if he’s able to do that I do think the second round is a distinct possibility for Marsh because of his upside and overall potential at the position.

In my view he could end up being one of the top corners to come out of this draft class if given some time to mature and projects as a good starting corner in a year or two for an NFL team according to our grading scale.

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