Keith Marshall certainly turned some heads with his strong showing at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine. How does this impact his 2016 NFL Draft stock?
For many players entering the NFL Draft, the NFL Scouting Combine held annually at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis acts as the great equalizer for those looking to improve their draft stock. The combine allows players that either played for a small school or had disappointing collegiate experiences level the playing field before that spring’s NFL Draft.
One such player that certainly helped his 2016 NFL Draft stock was redshirt junior running back Keith Marshall of the Georgia Bulldogs. While Marshall came to UGA as a top five overall player in the 2012 recruiting cycle nationally, he largely disappointed during his time in Athens, as a 2013 ACL tear in Knoxville completely derailed his effectiveness with the Dawgs.
Coming out of high school, Keith Marshall had blazing track-star speed and formed the dynamic freshmen tailback duo known as Gurshall with fellow North Carolinian Todd Gurley, the 2015 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year with the now Los Angeles Rams.
Marshall never matched his strong 2012 freshman campaign in his final three seasons at Georgia, but may have elevated his draft stock from a monstrous 2016 NFL Scouting Combine. Keith Marshall ran an unofficial 4.31 40-yard dash. This was the third fastest time recorded at the combine since 2006.
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While some questioned if Keith Marshall still had that great top-end speed he displayed before the ACL tear, his 40 time certainly removes all doubt. Others questioned his strength at being able to break tackles in the second level of defenses. Though this isn’t all that correlated, Marshall did complete 25 reps at the bench press, a few more than the big-bodied Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama Derrick Henry did in the same drill.
Even though Marshall was absolutely going to get drafted this spring based on his upside at the position he plays, his performance at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine essentially guarantees that he will end up a Day Two draft selection, going in the second to fourth rounds.
It’s interesting that the two most impressive combines in the last two drafts from a skill position standpoint were Georgia Bulldogs. Senior possession receiver Chris Conley dominated the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine, went in the third round to the Kansas City Chiefs, and help Kansas City win its first AFC Playoff game since he was an infant in 1993.
While Keith Marshall never really impressed on tape after his freshman year at Georgia, his great 2016 NFL Scouting Combine will likely increase his draft stock like it did to Conley the year before. Marshall could likely be one of the first 100 players selected in the 2016 NFL Draft. His combine sealed the deal that he won’t stay on the board past the fourth round in any capacity.