Marqueis Gray WR prospect - Troy Taormina-USATS

MarQueis Gray – Mr. Irrelevant Candidate?

For the second consecutive year, the Indianapolis Colts will hold the final pick of the draft – otherwise known as Mr. Irrelevant.

The term "Mr. Irrelevant" may seem derogatory, but the final pick of the draft each year is invited to spend a week in Newport Beach, California, where they will attend various events and raise money for charity. 

It's very rare that "Mr Irrelevant" becomes a productive player in the NFL, and as a result the Colts decided to spend the pick on Indiana native, quarterback Chandler Harnish. It seemed to be a nice gesture from the team, to give Harnish – a Colts fan – the week of luxury that comes with being the final pick.

So with the pick again being in Indianapolis' possession, could they be about to venture down the same path in 2013?

The player in question here is Minnesota Gophers "athlete" MarQueis Gray, who has a visit scheduled with the Colts. I say athlete, as it's tough to nail down Gray's true position. He was recruited as a quarterback, but also saw snaps at wide receiver, and was even recently asked to workout with tight ends at the Combine.

There are two main trains of thought in my assumption that Gray is a "Mr. Irrelevant" candidate.

Indiana ties

Since Ryan Grigson became General Manager, a small selection of players from Indiana have been brought in – namely Harnish, Nathan Palmer and Weslye Sanders. Gray's career so far has strong ties to the state, which would make some sense in terms of the final pick.

Having attended Ben Davis High School in Indiana, Gray became the #1 player in the state and the #3 'dual threat' quarterback in the nation. Gray was heavily recruited, turning down offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan State, Oregon and Purdue in order to commit to Minnesota.

Whilst there is little concrete evidence to support the notion that Gray may be a Colts fan, it's a possibility – and as seen with Harnish, it may be seen as something of a 'goodwill gesture' to draft Gray as Mr. Irrelevant.

Scheme fit

Other than heartwarming stories of Gray's Indiana connections, there may be a serious reason for the interest.

When new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton was hired, he gave some thoughts on what direction the team would be heading in, in terms of schemes and playcalling.

“We’ll do a great job of mixing in some power runs, mixing in the downfield passing game, maybe even mixing in some wildcat plays, mix in some read-option, pistol-type schemes. Just really try and present once again a lot of conflicts for our opponents.”

Whilst it seemed that Hamilton was simply bluffing in a bid to keep the opposition guessing, Gray's 'dual threat' nature could play into the wildcat and read option plays.

His 40 time of 4.73 seconds at the Combine wasn't particularly impressive, but his time with the Gophers has shown that he can be an effective running quarterback, which would open up some different wrinkles in the Colts offense.

Alternatively, the Stanford offense under Hamilton featured multiple tight end sets. Some teams may see Gray as a tight end in the NFL, though his blocking can stand to improve if he will be playing there. In fact, Gray is currently working out with former Colt Ben Utecht in order to improve his skills. As a receiver, Gray stands at 6ft 3in, 240lbs – a huge threat that most fans want, but his disappointing 40 time has raised question marks over his ability to be an effective NFL receiver.

It's tough to pin down a position for Gray and much of this may be guesswork, but given Gray's flexibility, he's a name to keep an eye on as Day 3 of the draft reaches its close.

For videos of Gray in action, and at his Pro Day, view the playlist on my YouTube channel here.

Quantcast