SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has put another defender into the NFL.
This time, it’s safety Marquise Blair, who was taken by the Seattle Seahawks in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft Friday. He was the 47th overall selection.
The junior college transfer is the first former Ute taken in the 2019 draft, with fellow defenders Cody Barton and Chase Hansen, both linebackers, and safety Corrion Ballard also a part of this year’s class.
"Earl Thomas is with the Ravens now, and Delano Hill replaced Tedric Thompson at free safety at the end of the 2018 season. Blair is an excellent fit for Seattle's scheme and should push for immediate playing time," ESPN's Steve Muench wrote of the pick.
CBS Sports rated Blair the No. 10 safety in this year’s draft class. He ended up being the third safety taken in the draft, behind Maryland's Darnell Savage Jr. (to Green Bay) and Mississippi State's Johnathan Abram (Oakland), who were both taken in the first round.
“Deep safety who explodes downhill on running plays and can be a disruptive force near the line of scrimmage. Is undersized by safety standards, so there are concerns about durability, but is a game-changer from centerfield. Sometimes he can be over-aggressive, resulting in missed tackles or bad angles in pass coverage,” his CBS Sports scouting report reads.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Blair made a big impact in his two years as a Ute after transferring from Dodge City Community College, where he was a first-team junior college All-American in 2016.
The Wooster, Ohio, native started 18 games over the past two years for Utah, including 12 starts in 2018 while playing both free safety and strong safety. Blair missed the end of his junior year after suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2017.
Blair had 59 tackles, two interceptions, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble for Utes last year, when he earned All-Pac-12 second-team honors, and finished his Utah career with 107 tackles and six pass deflections.
"What I love about him is he's so aggressive at the line of scrimmage. You're talking about a guy who wants to play downhill," NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said of Blair.
Historical context: He becomes the first former Ute safety to be drafted since Marcus Williams was taken by the New Orleans Saints in 2017. Williams has started the past two years in New Orleans.8 comments on this story
Measurables: 4.48 40-yard dash, 35.0-inch vertical jump, and 125.0-inch broad jump at the NFL combine; 4.49-second short shuttle, 6.84-second 3-cone drill at Utah’s Pro Day, according to The Athletic’s Dane Brugler
Scouting Blair: “Blair plays the game with an aggressive field demeanor that fuels his passion to race into the action, ready to strike on sight. However, his lack of discipline hurt his team with targeting penalties and by over-running responsibilities against the run and pass. … He’s long and rangy in coverage, and embodies the mindset that defensive coordinators want from their units. — NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein