FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Jalin Marshall anxiously waited three days to hear his name called at the NFL draft.
The first day came and went. So did the second. The former Ohio State wide receiver figured a team would grab him in one of the last four rounds.
A total of 253 players were selected in April — and Marshall couldn’t believe he wasn’t one of them.
“There were 32 teams who passed me up in the draft,” Marshall said. “And now, I’ve got a great opportunity to show all these teams what they missed out on. That’s at the top of my list right there.”
Marshall was signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent shortly after the draft concluded, and he is doing all he can during training camp to prove everyone wrong.
He played just two years at Ohio State before declaring for the draft and thinks some scouts might have thought he just didn’t have enough experience. Marshall ran a not-so-flashy 4.68 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his pro day, creating more doubts about whether he could play at the next level.
“People also said I was overweight at the pro day,” the 5-foot-10, 200-pound Marshall said. “There was a lot of stuff, but it was my fault. It was nobody else’s fault but mine, but every day I’ve got the opportunity to come out here and prove I should’ve been a No. 1 draft pick — and that’s my goal.”
Marshall was ready to move on from Ohio State because many of his teammates were going to the pros or graduating. Not one to be left behind in anything he does, Marshall decided it was best for him to play at the next level.
He isn’t cocky, he insists. He’s just supremely confident in himself, believing that he could make an impact in the NFL despite the draft disappointment and all the doubters.
“It doesn’t fade just like that,” he said. “There are still people who don’t think I should be here. People still think I should be at Ohio State. This thing will go on for the rest of my life, unless I make sure it turns out the right way.”
Marshall has certainly opened eyes all offseason, so much so that he even got some time with the starters in the preseason opener against Jacksonville last week. He had one catch for 10 yards, but it was his 84-yard kickoff return that had people buzzing.
Marshall took the ball out of the end zone, leaped over a would-be tackler, got a huge block from Rontez Miles and scampered 84 yards before being run out of bounds by Dwayne Gratz at the Jaguars’ 18.
“I thought I was gone, man,” a smiling Marshall said. “I got the opening and felt the guy had a good angle, so I tried to set him up and try to make something else happen, but it was good, man. It was a great experience. I can’t explain that feeling. It’s my first game ever. It’ll never happen again. I’ll always have that memory.”