The current Buffalo Bills regime has notoriously prioritized defensive players with their top picks while leaving the later rounds to find hidden offensive talent. That may be the case with Buffalo wide receiver Justin Marshall, who attended the Bills’ local pro day as well as a private workout.
Today the #Bills will be holding their Local Day at OBD— ¢ (@NCSportscast716) April 14, 2023
Reported invites include:
▫️ @Pitt_FB WR Jared Wayne (@jwayne_5)
▫️ @UBFootball WR Justin Marshall (@JusMarshall) & Quian Williams (@Quian1of1)#NFLDraft | #BillsMafia | #H2P | #UBhornsUP | #ForeverABull pic.twitter.com/Y4xGhOau9c
Marshall is a 6’2”, 205-pound receiver who spent three seasons at Louisville before transferring to Buffalo as a redshirt senior. That final season with Buffalo, Marshall had a career-best season that was better than all three of his previous seasons combined. In 2022, Marshall started all 13 games and led the team with 64 receptions, 837 yards and nine touchdowns. He was named the Camellia Bowl MVP for hauling in 11 receptions, 127 yards and one touchdown when Buffalo topped Georgia Southern. He appeared in just 20 games total with Louisville from 2019-21 and finished with 36 receptions, 544 yards and one touchdown.
The Conyers, GA native is projected to hear his name called in the seventh round, but he will likely become an undrafted free agent (UDFA), per Pro Football Network. Although he didn’t attend the NFL Scouting Combine, Marshall did attend UB’s pro day on March 16 — running a 4.48-second 40-yard dash, 1.58-second 10-yard split, along with a 38” vertical jump and 10”6” broad jump.
There is a ton to like about Marshall, particularly his big-bodied frame. He’s listed as 6’2” but plays more physically than that thanks to his play style meshing with his long arms and soft hands. Finding receivers who can win contested catches consistently is hard nowadays and despite the noticeable weaknesses, Marshall could propel himself ahead on most team’s draft boards for that reason alone.
His long and physical frame comes at a cost, however, because he lacks the true speed and quickness in his routes, the primary area that could hold him back from hearing his name called during the NFL Draft. While he can use his vertical ability to come down with the football, he lacks the breakaway speed that most deep-threat receivers possess. On top of that, the fact that most of his production came in his senior year with a team in a weaker conference is concerning when considering if his game can properly translate to the professional level. Nonetheless, he will certainly have options as a UDFA to compete in camp and hopefully secure a roster spot.
Does he fit the Bills? Who knows? But they made sure to exercise the loophole that doesn’t penalize teams for hosting players within the borders of their home market. As outlined above, Marshall has good size and hands, and he could find success as a possession receiver for Buffalo. Who knows? Maybe he’ll sign with the Bills, make the team and get the Isaiah Hodgins treatment.