Meet Bradley Marquez: The St. Louis Rams’ Special Teams Ace

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Sep 13, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin (11) celebrates with wide receiver Bradley Marquez (15) after returning a punt for a 75 yard touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams defeated the Seahawks 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

A high school football coach always used to tell me that a football team can only win if they are superior in at least two of the game’s three phases: offense, defense, or special teams. The offense and defense of a football team at any level gets all the attention and glory on the gridiron, while special teams units rarely garner national recognition.

However, the special teams of a football team is extremely important to a team’s success, as it dictates starting field position throughout the entire game.

This is probably why the final roster cuts of an NFL team are generally based on an individual’s special teams ability. An undrafted free agent signed to the roster of a team was probably not explosive or strong enough to warrant a draft pick. Therefore, he has an uphill battle as he competes with other rookies to show why he warrants a roster spot.

The St. Louis Rams in particular have struck gold out of the undrafted free agent market for their special teams unit several times in the Jeff Fisher era. For example, safety Cody Davis out of Texas Tech  provides speed on kickoff and punt coverage and linebacker Daren Bates out of Auburn is now a team captain because of his consistent play. Oh- and there’s also this guy named Johnny Hekker out of Oregon State, who is now one of the best punters in the NFL.

So when Bradley Marquez out of Texas Tech was signed onto the Rams roster this offseason, he needed to perform extremely well on special teams to make the final roster. Although the receiving corps of the Rams was unspectacular, it was actually pretty deep.

Kenny Britt and Brian Quick were the big men on the outside X and Y receiver positions. Meanwhile, Tavon Austin filled the slot receiver role while Stedman Bailey and Chris Givens served as substitutes. There was one spot remaining at the receiver position for Fisher, and Marquez was forced to compete against the likes of Daniel Rodriguez, Isaiah Ferguson, and Tyler Slavin.

Needless to say, Marquez avoided the final cuts and has managed to be productive in his role with the team as an undrafted rookie. But that’s what he is to most NFL fans: an undrafted rookie. Unless you’re a Rams fan, you’ve probably never heard of him.

So who in the world is Bradley Marquez, the professional football player and person?

Next: Pre-NFL Marquez