Auburn Football: Is Nick Marshall an NFL Quarterback?


As an Auburn football player, Nick Marshall has only played quarterback. Does the Tigers’ signal caller have a future as an NFL QB, or will he need to change positions?

“It’s just something I have to think about,” Marshall said this week. “As of right now, I’m open to play anything, but I’m looking to play quarterback.”

More from Auburn Football

Saying he is open to another position is a smart move for Marshall, even at this early stage. It doesn’t mean he won’t be given an opportunity to make his case as a quarterback at his pro day, the NFL Combine, a college All-Star game or two or perhaps even on Jon Gruden’s QB Camp television show, but it means he likely sees the handwriting on the wall.

His former head coach, who runs a pro style offense, may have seen it earlier.

“There’s no doubt he’s a very talented guy and he’s playing quarterback as well as anybody in the league and probably in the country,” Georgia head football coach Mark Richt said before last week’s game against the Tigers. “We certainly looked at him as that, the possibility, but we believed he could be one of the best cornerbacks in America. We believe he could be a very high draft pick as a corner as well. He’s that talented of a guy.”

Marshall was recruited as a quarterback, but saw the field as a cornerback and special teams player at Georgia in 2011 as a true freshman. He appeared in all 13 games for the Bulldogs that season and recorded five tackles.

Apr 19, 2014; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall (14) drops back to pass during the first half of the A-Day spring game at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

After Richt dismissed him from the program following an off-field incident, Marshall sought to return to the quarterback position. He had a fantastic season as a QB at Garden City Community College, where he caught the eye of then-Arkansas State and soon to be new Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn, who offered him a chance to play for the Tigers.

After coaching him for the better part of two full seasons, Malzahn thinks the Georgia native has what it takes to be a pro quarterback, however.

“Yeah, there’s no doubt,” Malzahn said Monday on the Tiger Talk radio show. “He’s one of the better quarterbacks in the entire country and I feel like he’s one of the better overall players in the country. He’s definitely an NFL player. He’s much improved and I think he’ll do nothing but get better.”

For Auburn, Marshall has completed 190 passes in 309 attempts (61.5%) for 2,570 yards and 28 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. He’s also run for 1,807 yards and is closing in on the Tigers’ career rushing record among quarterbacks.

He’s an offensive weapon, but he certainly has flaws. analyst Bucky Brooks, a former NFL player and scout, observed Marshall earlier this season, and wrote a piece that discussed the senior’s play against Kansas State.

"From an NFL perspective, Marshall’s performance did little to convince scouts that he’s a quarterback prospect at the next level. He frequently missed open receivers on a variety of vertical routes that would’ve put the Tigers comfortably ahead early in the game. In addition, Marshall struggled finding passing lanes against the Wildcats’ pass rush, resulting in a number of tipped or batted passes at the line. With accuracy, ball placement and pocket presence cited as key factors in the quarterback evaluation, Marshall’s inability to excel in those areas will make him a hard sell in meeting rooms around the league."

That’s just one game, but it shows the inconsistency Marshall has had as a passer. And in the NFL, quarterbacks have to be great passers to succeed. The senior has a strong right arm, he’s intelligent and athletic, but his future lies elsewhere, and that’s okay.

Live Feed

Auburn vs. Texas A&M Prediction, Odds, Trends and Key Players for College Football Week 4
Auburn vs. Texas A&M Prediction, Odds, Trends and Key Players for College Football Week 4 /


  • 2023 Week 4 AP Poll Top 25: Every SEC team’s highest, lowest spot on ballotSouth Bound & Down
  • SEC Football: Florida, LSU rise in Week 4 2023 power rankingsSouth Bound & Down
  • SEC Tailgating: Where should you go in each town?South Bound & Down
  • SEC football standings based on yards per play through Week 2FanSided
  • Auburn Basketball: Projected starting lineup and depth chart for 2023-24 seasonBusting Brackets
  • Charlie Ward was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback for Florida State and he never played a game in the NFL at any position. Instead, Ward played in the NBA for more than a decade. Other Heisman winners weren’t as lucky to have a second career pro sports opportunity.

    There are plenty of top notch college QB’s that didn’t have great NFL careers, but there have been plenty of good college QB’s that have changed positions and found success at the next level. Guys like Denard Robinson, Julian Edelman, Ronald Curry, Brian Mitchell, Freddie Solomon, Brad Smith, Matt Jones, Josh Cribbs and Antwaan Randle El.

    Hines Ward even spent time as a quarterback in college and he may be a Hall of Famer as a wide receiver. In fact, most of those players listed became receivers as pros. Brooks believes Marshall’s future lies in the secondary.

    "While some observers have speculated that Marshall would be an intriguing possibility as an offensive weapon due to his athleticism and running skills, I believe he would make an ideal safety at the next level. He possesses the size to match up with wide receivers and tight ends in space, but also has a solid understanding of offensive concepts, which would help him play faster in the back end. With communication skills also valued heavily at the position, Marshall’s experience as an offensive leader could help him become an ideal traffic cop in the secondary."

    Nick Marshall is a quarterback, and he wants to play quarterback in the NFL. Of course, he’d rather play another position than nothing at all, which is a good thing for Marshall and the NFL team that grabs him.

    Next: Why the Game Against Samford is Important

    More from Fly War Eagle