NFL Draft: Q&A with UCLA Defensive End Cassius Marsh


UCLA Bruins defensive end Cassius Marsh (99) and Oregon State Beavers offensive tackle Michael Philipp (77) battle during the Rose Bowl. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2014 NFL Draft only a few months away, we reached out to some of the draft prospects we believe the Green Bay Packers could target in May. For over the past month we’ve heard from a wide variety of players, and today, we hear from very versatile former UCLA defensive end, Cassius Marsh.

Marsh was a three-year starter in the Bruins defense and a All-PAC 12 honorable mention as both a junior and senior. Like the Packers’ Datone Jones, Marsh played defensive end in UCLA’s 3-4 defensive scheme and finished last season tied for second on the team in sacks with six.

The California native is a tough, gritty player who many believe is also athletic enough to play outside linebacker at the next level. Marsh brings versatility on defense to any team that drafts him this spring. His experience playing in a 3-4 defense will intrigue teams like the Packers who will be looking to upgrade their front seven through the draft, whether that be on the line or at linebacker.

At 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, Marsh has the right size and high motor to play on the edge as a linebacker, but he could also add weight and play as a five-technique end in Green Bay’s system if they drafted him.

Marsh gives teams options and that is part of what makes him intriguing as an NFL prospect. The UCLA product also may be available early on day three of the draft, which would be great value for a team like Green Bay who will look to the mid-rounds to continue building their defense.

Because Marsh seems like a good fit for the Packers in the draft, I reached out to him to learn a little bit more about him. Here is what he had to say about his game and possibly playing for Green Bay

UCLA Bruins defensive end Cassius Marsh (99). Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Q. With the draft only four months away, how did you use the East-West Shrine game impress scouts and boost your draft stock?

CM: The East-West game was a great opportunity for me to show off my athleticism and speed. Also, to show my desire to get better every day and outwork all my competition. It was also a great opportunity to talk with scouts about my desire to be great!

Q. What are your strengths as a defensive end?

CM: My strengths are my athleticism, motor, explosiveness, and suddenness.

Q. Would you consider yourself a hybrid DE/OLB at the next level or strictly a defensive end?

CM: Absolutely! I believe I can dominate at both positions.

Q. You played end in a 3-4 defense at UCLA. Do you think this experience will help you with teams, like the Packers, who play a similar scheme? How would you feel about playing 3-4 outside linebacker if they asked you to make the position switch?

CM: I believe that playing in both a 4-3 and 3-4 helped me a lot in understanding the game of football. Knowing how the offense wants to attack both fronts. But yes, I would love to play that outside linebacker position. I would give me a lot of opportunity to make plays and I love that.

Nov 23, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils running back Marion Grice (1) is tackled by UCLA Bruins offensive tackle Christian Morris (60), defensive end Cassius Marsh (99). Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

Q. The Packers will be looking for both defensive line and linebacker help in the draft. How would you feel about being drafted by Green Bay? What would it mean to you to be reunited with former teammates Datone Jones and Jonathan Franklin?

CM: I would love to play for the Packers. A great team with great history and to play with my college teammates would be truly amazing.

Q. As a California guy, would you be okay with playing in the cold? Have your former teammates told you much about the weather, people, and atmosphere in Green Bay?

CM: I have no problem playing in the cold. It’s a part of football and anything that comes with football I love.

Q. There is a lot of speculation and opinion that goes into the draft process. Do you have an idea of where you might be drafted? Do you care? As a player, do you pay attention to all the draft coverage, like player rankings and mock drafts?

CM: I just can’t wait to be a part of a team again and work towards a championship.

USC Trojans kicker Andre Heidari (48) kicks an extra point as UCLA Bruins defensive end Cassius Marsh (99) goes for the block. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Q. If the Packers do draft you, what kind of player and teammate would they be getting? In your opinion, what is an underrated part of your game that people should know about?

CM: I think people don’t know just how much I love and care for my teammates. I will compete every day and challenge the men around me to do the same.

Q. Is there a player, past or present, that you try to model your game after or have drawn comparisons to?

CM: I aspire to be as much like J.J. Watt on the field as possible.

Q. Tell us a little bit about Cassius Marsh the person. When you’re away from football, what do you like to do in your free time? Any favorite hobbies? What kind of guy are you off the field?

CM: I’m a homebody off the field. I love getting treatment, going to yoga, hanging out with my girlfriend, watching film. A very low-key guy.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like Packers fans to know about you?

CM: I will work every day to be the greatest player I can possibly be. I want to be the greatest player, teammate, man, and over all person I can be.

Career college stats

2013 – 55 tackles, 8.5 TFL, PBU, 5 sacks, 2 QB hurries, blocked kick, and rec TD

2012 – 49 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 2 PBU, 6 sacks, 2 FF, and rec TD

2011 – 22 tackles, 4 TFL, and 2 sacks

2010 – 23 tackles, PBU, and a QB hurry

Film on Cassius Marsh

Cassius Marsh reflects on his career at UCLA

Cassius Marsh against New Mexico State (2013): 6 tackles, 2 TFL, sack, and a blocked kick

Cassius Marsh against Arizona State (2012): 9 tackles, TFL, and a sack

Watch more film on Cassius Marsh at