Of all the Utes at the 2019 NFL Combine, Marquise Blair may have the smoothest transition to the next level. A rangy, physical safety with a reputation for bringing the boom, Blair has a lot of the tools pro scouts desire in their defensive backfield.
A juco transfer(Dodge City CC), Blair played two seasons at safety for Utah – starting in both and earning All-Pac-12 honors as a senior. Was a First-team NJCAA All-American at Dodge City CC.
Blair’s time on the Hill summarized by Utah Athletics: 2018–Second-team All-Pac-12 … played in all 14 games with 12 starts (8 at free safety, 4 at strong safety) … 59 tackles (2.0 TFL) … two interceptions and two pass breakups … season-high nine tackles (0.5 TFL) and an interception against Northwestern in the Holiday Bowl … six tackles vs. BYU … five tackles against Northern Illinois, USC and Oregon (plus a forced fumble) … four tackles vs. Washington twice, Stanford and Arizona … two pass breakups against Weber State … honorable mention Pac-12 All-Academic.
2017–Played in nine games with six starts (2 at strong safety, 2 at free safety, 1 at outside linebacker) before suffering a season-ending injury against UCLA … 48 tackles (3.0 TFL) was third on the team at the time of the injury … season-high 10 tackles (2.0 TFL) against Oregon … led Utah with eight tackles and two pass breakups against San Jose State … led Utah with eight tackles against USC and scored a touchdown on an 18-yard run after a fumble recovery.
As a prospect, Blair is sailing a bit under-the-radar. He didn’t see a lot of opportunities to make plays on the ball in Pac-12 play because he was used in the box so often, a testament to the Utes top-10 defense. He also missed additional field action after multiple targeting ejections.
With good measurements and a frame that projects well to the next level, Blair could really help his draft stock with a strong showing at the on-field portion of workouts at the Combine.
- Physicality: As Utah fans know, Blair brings the boom. Receivers in the middle of the field should have their head on a swivel and running backs who get the second level ought to be ready for contact.
- Speed: With an impressive top-end sprint, Marquise is able to close on ballcarriers and passes quickly.
- Size: At 6’1” 195lbs, Blair has the frame to play the position. His speed and length help his cause even more-so.
- Mean: His competitive demeanor and nastiness make for a good match with his lightning speed. Collisions a-plenty.
- Versatility: Blair played both safety positions and even some linebacker at Utah. He showed adequacy in run-stoppage and coverages.
- Weight: At under 200lbs, NFL front offices would expect Quise to pack on a bit more muscle. Being underweight is a durability concern for a prospect who relies on so much heavy contact.
- Discipline: The aforementioned ‘nastiness’ is ideal for the position. But Blair can often times get a little too aggressive, resulting in him overrunning routes/ballcarriers, whiffing on tackles in space and becoming prone to targeting penalties.
- Change-of-direction: As a result of his full-throttle style, Blair regularly runs himself out of position and is late reacting to play progressions.
Blair has plenty of potential as a prospect and his concerns all seem to be correctable. His skills translate to the combine drills well and I expect him to be among the quickest safeties in the 40-yd dash. Few 2019 prospects offer the same ability to play “center fielder” as well as Blair does. He’s currently projected as a mid-to-late round pick, but I believe a truly strong showing in his agility drills could catapult him as far as the late second.
You can catch Marquise Blair — along with all other defensive backs — Monday at 7am (MT) on the NFL Network.