Surprisingly snubbed in the NFL Draft, former Washington State football standout Gabe Marks has signed an undrafted free agent contract with the New York Jets, according to reports.
Marks had a tremendously productive career at WSU, setting both school and Pac-12 receiving records; he graduated as the conference and school career leader in receptions (316), and the school leader in yards (3,453) and touchdowns (37). The latter two achievements are seventh and second in conference history.
Some (including NFL execs?) would pooh-pooh Marks’ superlative production as a byproduct of playing in the Air Raid, and there certainly is something to that in terms of the volume of targets.
But Marks was having none of the suggestion, at the NFL Combine, that he merely benefits from the system:
“There is nothing quirky about the offense. We just throw the ball a lot,” he said. “But everyone throws the ball. We run the same routes as everybody. We’re not running like ‘okay, run to the flag pole over there and then turn around at the car and I’ll throw it to you.’
“Guys are trying to call us ‘system receivers’ like that’s a thing. It’s not a thing. You’ve still got to do it. It doesn’t matter the system that you are in. You’ve still got to catch the ball. Somebody has to catch the ball and score the touchdowns. If you just put some guy out there that couldn’t play, it wouldn’t work. I just get an opportunity to catch more passes — I can understand that. But I’m still getting open. So the whole ‘system receiver’ thing kind of bothers me a little bit.’’
Labeling Marks in this way definitely undersells his talent — he was a four-star recruit out of Venice, Calif., and while his measurables aren’t going to overwhelm anyone, he is an absolute savage of a technician, which is what allowed him to be so absurdly productive.
His size (5-foot-11, 189 pounds) and relative lack of speed likely were the driving force behind going undrafted, and it means Marks almost certainly projects to inside receiver in the NFL. If he seems a little light to take the pounding he’s going to endure, he is undoubtedly one of the toughest receivers ever to play at Washington State. But that’s probably not the biggest question going forward. From our scouting report on Marks:
The question becomes whether or not Gabe can be strong enough at the line to get off and get into the stem of his route without the jam disrupting his - and the quarterback’s - timing. He will have to provide the answer to that question very early on.
Marks’ new team also is going to get perhaps the most loquacious player in this draft class. The Washington Post said he “might be the most interesting guy in college football,” and that’s mostly likely not an understatement. Marks isn’t lacking for opinions on anything, and not in the “I HAVE OPINIONS” kind of way endemic to most athletes — he often has thoughtful viewpoints on important issues.
Of course, other times, he just says what’s on his mind. After UCLA decided it would try and warm up on WSU’s side of the field in some sort of weird psychological ploy ...
Gabe Marks' full comments on UCLA warming up on their side of the field (again). My favorite part: "I mean don't cut that, let's be honest." pic.twitter.com/rQJXR3H1Cc— Lindsay Joy (@SWXLindsayJoy) October 18, 2016
"I'm not coming back next year, to be able to play (UCLA) again, but I don't know what their deal is,” he said. “They kind of come off as bad guys when they do things like that. I don't know if they do that to everybody, but it's just kinda douchey, you know? ...
“I mean, don't cut that. Let's be honest: It makes you looks like you're trying to be tough because everyone thinks that, because you live in Westwood and wear baby blue that you're not tough. It makes you look less tough because you're trying too hard. It's just weird, you know? You don't have to do that."
Gabe Marks is WSU’s gift to you, Jets fan. Cherish him as much as we did.