Third Round, 78th Pick
Marquise Goodwin is a track star who found his way to the football field at the University of Texas. His physical talent is undeniable, but so is his limited track record as a football player. How will teams balance the risk of Goodwin's raw football resume against the reward of his rare speed and explosion?
Speed, speed and more speed. Goodwin is going to instantly be one of the ten fastest wide receivers in the NFL—if not ten fastest players, period. He is the kind of player who has to be accounted for on every play, because he turns minor mistakes by defensive backs into touchdowns. Deep separation is effortless for Goodwin, and tacklers consistently take poor angles when he is on the run.
Goodwin also changes speed in his routes well enough to create separation on short and intermediate routes. He adjusts to the ball in flight well as long as he doesn't have to track it over his shoulder. Goodwin is physical and not afraid to hit or be hit.
Since he's a raw receiver, Goodwin needs to be coached up on ball-tracking, route running and defeating the jam, among other finer points of the wide receiver position. He is not a very shifty or elusive runner when it comes to moves in the open field, and he's not a big wide receiver.
With an official 4.27 40 at the combine, Goodwin can count himself as the second fastest player to be electronically timed at the workouts (began in 2000). His speed translates to the field, as does his world-class explosive leaping ability. Goodwin is only 5'9", 183 pounds, but he is not slightly built.
Goodwin was a three-time first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection. He qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics and finished in 10th place in the long jump, although his winning jump at the U.S. Olympic Trials would have won the gold medal in London. He is known for his personality and dream of building a specially designed house for his younger sister, Deja, who has cerebral palsy.
Goodwin was used on plays specially designed to get the ball in his hands as much as he was running routes as a typical wide receiver. He doesn't run the whole route tree, but Goodwin seems at least competent at double moves and comebacks to leverage off his speed.
Goodwin needs a lot of work to defeat the jam, but his speed makes it unlikely that he'll often face it in the pros. He'll also be lined up in the slot or in motion at the snap to give him a free release. As a track athlete, he has good get-off at the line of scrimmage and accelerates to top speed very quickly.
There aren't that many routes Goodwin has demonstrated successfully on the field, but he does understand how to use his speed to create separation. He sells the hitch in the hitch-and-go to streak away from a defensive back who bites at all on the move. Goodwin changes speeds and throttles down in his routes effectively to create separation on shorter routes, and in general, he has an aggressive mindset when running routes.
He shows enough progress in these areas to project some growth in the pros.
In a nutshell, Goodwin's hands are good enough. He is generally a natural hands-catcher, and he can catch the ball outside of his frame. Because the sample size is small, it's hard to make a more in-depth evaluation of Goodwin's hands.
Tracking the ball over his shoulder can be a problem, and Goodwin will also need to work on locating the ball coming out of his break, as the game will speed up in the pros. He actually adjusts to poorly thrown deep balls very well, and he isn't afraid to get physical with a defensive back to get to the spot for the catch.
Goodwin has a surprising amount of "my ball mentality" for an inexperienced receiver, and he looks natural when it's time to make a play on the ball as it arrives. His toughness is also apparent when he fearlessly works the middle of the field.
Run After Catch
Goodwin has a little swerve to his game, but he is not going to break tacklers down in the open field. He does run strong enough to break arm tackles, and his acceleration leaves his opponents in the dust. Goodwin is actually patient with the ball in his hands and he runs with determination. He isn't going to break many tackles, but he is not a finesse runner, either.
Goodwin actually blocked as an upback on kick returns at times, and he was willing to play with a physical edge and give up his body. He will whiff on some blocks, but when he gets latched on, Goodwin can actually move his man, dispelling the notion that he is a track star miscast as a football player.
Scheme Versatility/Future Role
Goodwin will continue to return kicks and get used on jet sweeps, wide receiver screens, go routes and double moves, but he has shown the potential to do more. He may never be an every-down receiver, but he has flashed enough football skill to shrug the "gimmick"-player label.