This may be slightly too high for Marshall as I peg him for a mid-third or late-fourth guy, but, after drafting an offensive tackle and wide receiver, this USC product fits at a team-need and is a good value at it. Although the Arizona Cardinals added Robert Alford to compliment Patrick Peterson, Iman Marshall projects as a possible day-one starter, at slot cornerback.
Marshall isn’t your prototypical, undersized slot defender. He’s not a twitchy athlete (4.53 second 40-yard-dash) nor is he undersized (6-foot-1, 207-pounds). Marshall brings a physical style of play to the forefront, and it shows in press coverage and in run-support– which should help him match up to tight ends and running backs. Per Pro Football Focus, Marshall allowed just 11 slot yards during his senior season.
But, despite not having ideal long-speed, Marshall’s game shouldn’t have to stay in the slot. While his physicality and hip tightness may get him stuck at times against the best receivers, it’s a godsend in the red zone, and it means he should do well in a Cover-2 from the get-go. However, the Cardinals won’t have to rely on him as an outside cornerback as he could develop while Robert Alford and Patrick Peterson take over the duties.
If his game doesn’t work out on the boundary, some have called for a full-time move to safety, which again, could work in the Cardinals long-term plans as D.J. Swearinger‘s contract runs up after 2020. Or, he may stick to slot cornerback, a position that is as important as ever and one I expect him to do well in.