Football is obviously a very physical game, so it’s no surprise that a very limited number of people can play the game beyond childhood. So there’s a handful of attributes that will always be coveted when it comes to acquiring unknown talent, now a 365-day job for NFL scouting departments.
For this discussion, speed is the primary focus.
It’s easy to understand and it’s one of the most important physical gifts required by a few positions in this game.
The Dallas Cowboys know better than any other about speed. Olympic gold medalist Bob Hayes completely changed the nature of defense in the NFL beginning in 1965. Let’s just say that the average professional cornerback—at that time—was in no way equipped to deal with a guy who beats anybody on the planet in a 100-meter dash.
Thus, zone defense was born.
In more recent years, the Cowboys have had other players who could really run well with varying degrees of success or impact as football players.
In 1991, there was Alexander Wright, a true lightning bolt out of Auburn that really couldn’t play football very well. Twice winning the NFL "Fastest Man" competition, he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns as a Cowboys wide receiver (including one for 102 yards).
In more recent years, Dallas has had better receivers that can also fly:
- Rocket Ismail
- Joey Galloway
Speed kills in the NFL, just like it does in the wild.
Well, the Cowboys haven’t really had an elite runner in some time. While starting wide receivers Dez Bryant and Miles Austin are neither lacking for speed, they don’t run anything like the names above.
With nobody other than Dwayne Harris looking certain to catch passes with Bryant and Austin next season, it would be a good time to be looking in the middle rounds for a true weapon.
Marquise Goodwin of the Texas Longhorns could be a sweet target.
Like Hayes, Goodwin also has Olympic credentials. Although, not for the same events. Goodwin is a track and field specialist that excels in the long jump. He also runs a sub-40-yard dash, so there will be eyes on his 40-time at the NFL Scouting Combine next month in Indianapolis.
When you add Goodwin’s speed with his jumping ability, you start to see that he’s not just a really fast guy who can stretch defenses solely because he can run fast. His leaping ability means he has some legs going, some power.
Goodwin comes across as a complete football player who could immediately impact special teams in a couple of ways. While Harris has shown the ability to be a game-changer as a punt returner, Goodwin would still be an all-around upgrade. And if not returning punts, Goodwin could be an asset as a kick returner, something the Cowboys have lacked for the longest time.
It’s hard to see Goodwin becoming an every down player, given his limited size. But when you see him play, it sure doesn’t look like he shies away from contact. Just take a look at the block he throws in the video.
Could he be a No. 2 receiver?
Probably not, but there’s no reason he couldn’t work his way to No. 3 or No. 4 while also changing field position, and possibly turning in some big plays—like touchdowns—in the kicking game
Yes, speed kills, and on Sunday’s, Goodwin will be the fastest man on the field with very few exceptions.
Consider the difficulty Goodwin presents opponents who already have to worry about guys like Bryant, Austin, tight end Jason Witten and runningback DeMarco Murray.
And now you add a guy with world class speed that likes to hit people?
Remember that Goodwin can also carry the ball in the backfield.
Goodwin may seem like a bit of a luxury but beyond the second round, but he could be a really smart choice—and a lot cheaper than a speedy veteran like Mike Wallace of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If picked as late as the third round, he would be a steal.