Marquise Brown has always been small. 

Brown, the Ravens' first round pick who today stands at 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, was born prematurely, a situation that caused complications for his mother that required extensive time in the hospital. The courage his mom exuded back then continues to inspire Brown, who is looking to prove that his talent, heart and drive to be great will more than make up for his small stature. 

"She did everything for me," Brown said recently during an interview with NFL Network's Steve Smith. "From the time I was born to where I'm at now. Without a doubt, the strongest person I know. Going what she went through, there's no excuse I can make. Being small, this and that. Knowing what my mom went through, I know I can do everything." 

Brown's size was the major reason why he fell to the back half of the first round. His February surgery to resolve his Lisfranc injury also played a role in him falling to the Ravens to the 25th overall pick. Even then, many in the media thought that the Ravens reached by taking Brown, whose surgery left him unable to take part in the combine, in the first round. 

These are the doubts that Brown is now using to fuel his fire as he enters his rookie season with Baltimore. Brown faces doubts despite having a prolific two seasons at Oklahoma, catching 132 passes for 2,413 yards and 17 touchdowns and averaging 18.3 yards per catch. 

"You're going to see my energy out there," Brown said. "I play the game to have fun. I'm playing the game to dominate. I play the game to win. If you're watching [me] on TV, you're gonna see it." 

Seeing Brown up-close this season will be the Steelers, who met with Brown during the combine. Instead of drafting Brown to help replace his older cousin, Pro Bowl receiver Antonio Brown, the Steelers instead waited until the third round to draft a receiver, taking former Toledo wideout Diontae Johnson with the 66th overall pick. 

Speaking of his older cousin, Marquise Brown said that, while he has learned tangible things from Antonio that will help him flourish at the next level, it's the intangible advice that has made the biggest impact. 

"I'm gonna bring the [same] mentality," he said. "That's what is gonna come from first. When you come out with that mentality of 'No matter what, I'm gonna win. Even if you lose each and every snap, you gotta [continue to] go hard.'"

Marquise isn't trying to duplicate the success of his older cousin. Instead, he is looking to make his own mark as one of the NFL's up-and-coming playmakers. 

"It's pretty crazy to me. He was always out there dominating," he said of watching his older cousin evolve into an All-Pro performer. "I don't wanna say I'm chasing what he did, but I gotta go out there and make my mark as my own person."

Brown will look to do that in Baltimore with quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is also facing a slew of doubters despite helping spearhead the Ravens' turnaround last season. At 4-5 and behind Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the AFC North standings, Baltimore went 6-1 with Jackson as their starter while rallying back to win the North and making the playoffs for the first time since 2014. In the process, John Harbaugh, who was on the hot seat for most of the season, was given an extension that will keep him in Baltimore through 2022. 

Jackson can win, no one is debating that. The criticism from his doubters is about how he led the Ravens to victories in 2018. While he averaged fewer than 172 passing yards and one touchdown pass per start, Jackson did a ton of damage on the ground, rushing for 695 yards and five scores in Baltimore's run-oriented offense. 

The magic ended, however, against the Chargers in the AFC wild-card round. While he threw two touchdowns, Jackson was sacked seven times against a Los Angeles defense that took away his running angles. He also completed less than 50 percent of his passes, as the Ravens came up short in their first home playoff game in seven years. 

Brown was brought in to give Jackson a young, dynamic player he can mature with while expanding Baltimore's offensive attack. And while Brown continues to come back from his surgery, Jackson never stopped working following last year's unceremonious ending. 

"Got in the playbook, learned as much as I can," Jackson said of his offseason, per the Baltimore Sun. "I got way, way ahead of where I was in [organized team activities]. … Dialed in, got my guys. Summer to now, it's been incredible, just working hard, getting after it. Just got better. Felt comfortable. Just doing good so far."

An underdog since birth, Jackson, fittingly, has landed in Baltimore, a team that rarely has been picked to win the AFC North despite being the defending champ. That's just fine with Brown, who can't wait to prove his doubters wrong while carving out his own niche in the NFL in the process.