Marquise Goodwin has the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine buzzing after coming within a whisker of beating Chris Johnson's long-standing 40-yard dash time.
The former United States track star and Texas wide receiver threw down a blistering 4.25 dash that was unofficially recorded. He then doubled that up with a 4.27 that was stood as his official mark—giving him the fastest time of the combine and one of the quickest 40-yard dash times in history.
Talk about boosting your draft stock in the combine.
Goodwin has suddenly gone from being a man that had just 26 catches in his senior year at Austin to the most talked-about wide receiver in the 2013 draft class.
With the class itself not being that strong in terms of there being no standout receivers—like Justin Blackmon last year, for example—anything that a certain player can do to set himself apart from the rest of the draft class is going to turn some heads.
Running a 4.27 is a pretty good way to go about turning those heads. But how will that affect his stock heading into the 2013 NFL Draft? Will his speed alone make him a viable first-round pick or are there simply better receivers available in the class this year?
Well, first things first—Goodwin offers far more than just a deep threat with his speed, and is much more than simply a track star trying to cut it as a pro-footballer.
He has great hands that have shown up particularly well in receiving drills so far this year, and when coupled with his speed, continue to show up defenders. Especially those that might not have expected the sort of explosion that Goodwin gets out of the blocks.
The Texas man has the potential to be a fantastic slot receiver and potential return man if that's what teams want (ala Devin Hester). His broad jump (132.0 inches) shows that he still has the skills that made him a track and field star during his college years. That will excite NFL scouts about how he could make plays on the football.
Draft scouts at USA Today had this to say about the 22-year-old.
Goodwin was outstanding from start to finish, and the speedy receiver is causing excitement. He was the fastest receiver on the field, clocking an official time of 4.27 seconds. His speed was evident during drills, too; he consistently outran passes delivered by the strongest-armed quarterbacks. Proving to be more than a straight-line sprinter, he ran terrific routes and caught the ball well in the short field. Goodwin continues to build on the momentum he started at the Senior Bowl last month and further elevated his draft grade with his combine performance.
The question then, it seems, is not whether Goodwin should be considered as a legitimate first-round pick, but rather how high he should be looking to go.
His potential is still quite raw and he won't necessarily be a star from the moment he steps onto the field in the NFL, meaning that coaches will still need to work with him. But when you have his natural athletic skill set as well as great hands and understanding of the game, he is no doubt a very manageable and moldable player that coaches will be looking for.
What Goodwin offers teams are rare skills that few other players in the world can offer, and it's hard to see many teams wanting to pass the opportunity up.
I'd say look for him to go somewhere in the mid-to-late first round here, with a team that is desperately trying to play their quarterback into form. He'd make an excellent slot receiver and checkdown option if needed, with his quick speed guaranteeing yards for offensive coordinators.
The ceiling on Goodwin, it seems, is very, very high, and his draft stock and subsequent career in the NFL should merely be a reflection of that.
Where do you see Marquise Goodison going in the 2013 NFL Draft?
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