After sitting in the green room throughout the entire first round of the 2014 NFL Draft on Thursday without being selected, it did not take for former USC wide receiver Marqise Lee to hear his name called on Friday as the Jacksonville Jaguars took him with the 39th overall pick.
Entering the draft, Lee was considered by many to be a late-first round selection but was not chosen and was even passed up by the Carolina Panthers, who took former Florida State wideout Kelvin Benjamin over him.
Heading into last season, the 22-year-old was seen as lock to be a top-10 draft pick after an impressive sophomore year in 2012 that saw him have 118 catches for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns which helped him win a handful of award.
After the 2012 season, Lee was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, became the first Trojan to win the Fred Biletnikoff Award that is given to top wide receiver in the nation, and was unanimously named an All-American.
However in his junior year in 2013, Lee experienced a down year in terms of production due to a sprained MCL which lingered throughout the season and by the poor play of his quarterbacks that limited him to 57 catches for 791 yards and four touchdowns in 11 games played.
This along with lack of size at six feet and 195 pounds and an inability to truly standout at the combine or his Pro Day lead to him slipping to the second round of the draft. With that said, it may be a blessing in disguise for Lee as he has a chance to prove himself as potentially the Jaguars No.1 receiving target for fellow rookie in quarterback Blake Bortles as the team will need them to lead the charge offensive to help turn around the floundering franchise.
As for other USC’ players taken in the first three rounds of the draft, center Marcus Martin was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round with the 70th overall pick. Martin is expected to be the backup to Daniel Kilgore, but could get a shot at the starting job if he performs well in the preseason or if Kilgore does not plays poorly.
Watch below Highlight’s of Lee’s career at USC:
Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images
Bob Garcia IV
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