With the Colts looking like they'll have at least one roster spot available at Wide Receiver to be filled by the draft, and with so many holes on Defense, the receiver position may have to wait until later in the draft. Thankfully the WR depth in this year's draft is quite good, which means a talent like Alabama's Marquis Maze could potentially fall into the 5th or 6th round.
Maze is a four-year player who led the team in receptions last year with 56 catches, but only caught one TD pass on the season, in game one against Kent State. The previous two seasons he spent in the shadow of top 10 pick from last year Julio Jones, but did have over 30 catches in each of 2009 and 2010. For his career he had 136 catches for 1844 yards and eight TDs.
His biggest downfall is his size, as he's only 5'8, so he'll obviously be talked about as a slot guy, but I don't think that's what he is. While probably not as well-rounded in college, I think he's more similar to Anthony Gonzalez than he is to Austin Collie. He ran 4.51 in the 40 at the Combine, helping to show he's more of an outside route runner than a guy who is expected to go over the middle. You'd think after a guy like DeSean Jackson can have so much success on the outside and be that small that small guys wouldn't automatically become slot receivers.
Maze could also potentially have an impact on special teams, as he returned both punts and kicks his last two seasons. He had a spectacular punt return last season against Arkansas, and averaged nearly 8.5 yards per punt return, something the Colts haven't come close to recently. He also had a big return against LSU in the title game, but came up limping with a hamstring injury that kept him out the final two and a half quarters. He was visibly upset as he wanted so bad to get back on the field, but just couldn't run. With the new kickoff rules there's no reason to draft a guy for kickoffs, but the punt returns can be a real help to the field position battle.
After the jump we have what some draft sites have to say about Maze, as well as all his measurements from the Combine and the audio from his media time.
There's a place in the NFL for this guy because of his straight-line speed and ability to create after the catch. Adds some punt return ability as well and looks like sub package receiver who can run the deep crossers and create big plays when his number is called.
Undersized with very short arms and small hands, Maze is a competitive, quicker-than-fast slot receiver and returner who was productive in the absence of Julio Jones. However, he will have to adopt a more professional approach and adjust to NFL physicality.
Combine Media Session (9:40)
For a complete list of prospects and profiles, check out our 2012 Draft Profiles Page.