Nico Marley is one of the better story lines for the Washington Redskins. The Haitian-American rookie linebacker, out of Tulane University, signed with Washington back in May as an UDFA. Why exactly is he so special? There’s two things. The first one is obvious, he’s the grandson of the great Bob Marley, whose music and spirituality influenced millions globally. Secondly, well, let me ask you this, when you think of a football player that’s 5’8 200 lbs, what 3 positions come to mind? Yeah, I’d bet the house that linebacker was not on that list.
Following the game, there were some players whose stock had rose and dropped, Nico Marley wasn’t mentioned even after the solid game he had against Baltimore. I agree to those who commented, I may have done Marley some injustice by not at least mentioning him. The concern about Nico is simply, needing to see more. His size at the position he is at just makes it hard to believe he can work at the inside linebacker position in the NFL. Is that fair? No, because if you’re great, size doesn’t matter. The reason Nico has made it this far, is because coaches love his tenacity and effort at that position, it’s hard to cut a guy who’s impressing so many.
There were a few things in his debut against Baltimore that concerned some, and a few things that made you think “he actually has a shot to sneak into the final 53-man roster”.
Again, one of the traits Marley has as a player is fearlessness, and that’s what you need when you’re a linebacker of his stature. As you can see, he didn’t win against the offensive lineman, however throwing his body in the way (as well as some help by outside linebacker Ryan Anderson) held the yardage gained to a minimal. Marley has no problem using his body like a torpedo to gain an advantage against offensive linemen at least 100 pounds heavier than him. That doesn’t always work to his advantage though, and the inability to shed a block or drive linemen into the backfield can hinder his chances to be on the field defensively.
This is where his size comes into question. The Ravens faced a 4th and 1, and Marley timed the count just right, but was stood up and driven back 3 yards off the line of scrimmage. Can tenacity and grit alone get you on the roster spot? Sure, you also have to be a smart player to go along with that. Marley had snaps on defense and special teams, and his fearless mentality can easily get him on the final 53 and contribute on special teams if need be. As far as linebacker goes, the question that needs to be asked is simple, is the coaching staff that impressed by not only his traits as a person, but are they that impressed by his play on the field? Can he beat out Josh Harvey-Clemons, Martrell Spaight, or Zach Vigil?
Another question that needs to be asked, is he another pre-season all-star? The likes of Marcus Mason, Brandon Banks, Colt Brennan, and many more that can be named. Either way, Nico Marley’s journey has yet to be defined, and his name will continue to be mentioned repeatedly for the next month, and for good reason. Impressive first game, but to me he has yet to crack that 53.
More clips of Nico Marley can be found on the youtube link, and my timeline
I said my piece, now tell me how you feel about Nico. Vote, and share your comments below.
What’s the chances of Nico Marley making the roster?
This poll is closed
Greater than 50%
26% - 50%
Less than 25%
0% but maybe Practice Squad