West Virginia’s Najee Goode is a versatile linebacker who will likely play inside at the next level. At 6’0” and 244 pounds, he bounced around between outside and inside ‘backer at college, but ultimately found most of his success manning the middle.
His best stats came in 2011 as he recorded 87 total tackles, including 14 tackles for loss. These numbers speak to one of Goode’s biggest strengths, which is filling the gaps and working inside the box. He added five sacks, one interception and one forced fumble as well, marking an altogether successful senior campaign.
Better suited against the run, Goode has underrated speed and unexpected burst. He ran a 4.64 40-yard dash at the combine and also posted a 35.5” vertical jump. Athletically, he’s capable of fitting both 4-3 and 3-4 teams as he is thickly built, dedicated to the weight room and is a strong tackler.
The reason Goode fits better inside is because he needs to improve against the pass. NFL.com notes how the compact ‘backer “works better in the box than he does in space,” as he can sometimes lose track of the ball when it’s in the air.
In addition, Goode can sometimes struggle to break free of blockers. CBSSports.com describes him as more of an effort and intensity player than one who has natural athleticism. His attitude didn’t go unnoticed at West Virginia, however, as he was the “unquestioned leader” of the defense.
Overall, Goode will likely begin as a two-down player in the NFL. He offers scheme versatility and is effective in the box. But he’ll need to continue improving in coverage.
During the offseason, WalterFootball pointed out that Goode “was solid at the East-West Shrine and the Combine.” Now that he’s begun to settle in at inside linebacker, there’s a good chance he can carry this momentum over into 2012.
After choosing Nebraska LB Lavonte David in the 2nd round, Tampa Bay looks to seriously bulk up the middle of the field by selecting Goode. With time, he'll improve against the pass as Tampa looks to shake up the NFC South.
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