Marquise Brown checks all the boxes for Arizona Cardinals

Apr 28, 2022, 9:06 PM | Updated: 11:04 pm
Wide Receiver Marquise Brown #15 of the Baltimore Ravens trades jerseys with quarterback Kyler Murr...
Wide Receiver Marquise Brown #15 of the Baltimore Ravens trades jerseys with quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals after the Baltimore Ravens 23-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals at M&T Bank Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
(Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)

TEMPE — “Surprise, surprise.”

That was about as simple as general manager Steve Keim could put it as he kicked off his 2022 NFL Draft availability Thursday night after completing a blockbuster trade to acquire receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown from the Baltimore Ravens.

For Keim and Co., it’s a match made in heaven that was in the works days before the first round of the draft kicked off.

A legit wideout to pair with DeAndre Hopkins that won’t break the bank the next two seasons. Check.

Already has a solid relationship with quarterback Kyler Murray — a fellow Oklahoma Sooner — and no-doubt makes the signal caller happy. Check.

Can elevate head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense instantly. Check.

You weren’t going to find that in the first round.

“No. 1, two years of control, getting a dynamic receiver that’s played inside, outside,” Keim said Thursday. “Obviously, his chemistry with our quarterback and a guy who can be a dynamic vertical threat, which is something we were looking for, as well as I had a strong feeling the board was going to fall the way it did. I’m awfully glad we made this trade.”

The best part of it all? Murray had no clue until the deal went down despite it reportedly being agreed upon days in advance.

His reaction was nothing but “fireball emojis” when the trade went down, Keim added.

The relationship between Murray and Brown is well known. The duo spent two seasons together at Oklahoma as Brown piled up 2,413 yards and 17 touchdowns from 2017-18.

What many might not realize is Arizona had familiarity with the wideout from their draft process in 2019.

During the Cardinals’ visit to Oklahoma to meet with Murray, Arizona also took the time to sit down with Brown. They came away impressed from their meeting, ranking Brown on their draft board as the 13th-best prospect. Brown went 25th overall in that draft.

After watching three years of tape during his days in Baltimore, it was evident they rated him lower than they should have.

“He’s got a really easy-going, sort of laid-back personality,” Keim said. “Yet at the same time on the field, he’s like a fierce competitor, especially for more of a slighter receiver. He’s competitive as hell, competes in a crowd, you see him make acrobatic catches. And again, his speed is 0-60, second to none.”

Brown showed off that speed during his three seasons with the Ravens. In 46 games played (41 starts), Hollywood reeled in 195 catches (317 targets) for 2,361 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Brown wasn’t just an outside burner in Baltimore, either, seeing 206 snaps in the slot and 450 on the outside in 2021. The result was a 1,008-yard, six-touchdown season on 91 catches.

On top of his production, Brown has shown off his durability, missing just three games in his career.

Now, he joins an offense that thrives with multiple pass catchers getting their slice of the pie. That’s what Kingsbury anticipates moving forward.

“We can use him everywhere,” Kingsbury said. “He’s dynamic. … We just felt like it was the perfect fit. He can play inside, outside and really take the top off.

“We see him kind of taking over where Christian (Kirk) was,” the head coach added.

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Marquise Brown checks all the boxes for Arizona Cardinals