Malliciah Goodman Scouting Report: NFL Outlook for Clemson DE
Fourth Round, 127th Pick
If you're looking for the next great pass-rusher, you've come to the wrong place.
Malliciah Goodman is not the next Bruce Smith, but he could become the next Chris Kelsay, who put together a solid 10-year career due to his ability to impact each facet of the game.
Goodman doesn't stand out in any one area, but he is among the most well-rounded defensive linemen in this year's draft class.
Many of the elite prospects have achieved stardom due to their pass-rushing ability, and while Goodman will never be a perennial double-digit sack master, he is one of the better defensive ends at playing the run.
While his upside is modest, if he wins a starting job he should be a true three-down lineman.
In this era of high-flying offense, NFL teams want defensive linemen who can consistently pressure the quarterback. Unfortunately, Goodman lacks the explosive athleticism to make that happen.
His college stats are decent, but he took advantage of favorable matchups and rarely won battles when matched up against top-flight offensive tackles.
Goodman was measured at just under 6'4" at the NFL combine, which is slightly shorter than the ideal defensive end. However, his 36-inch arms are well above average and give him the overall length that teams want to see in a lineman.
He isn't an explosive athlete or the strongest at his position, but Goodman possess a nice blend of size and athleticism.
Goodman is one of the most decorated defensive players in Clemson history, having won a number of team awards throughout his career.
Most notably, Goodman was awarded Clemson's Iron Man Award in 2012, given to the team's most "dependable practice player, [who] played every snap, [and] played hurt." He was also given the team's Strength Training Award following 2010 spring practices.
Not surprisingly, Goodman has a reputation as one of the hardest-working and most dedicated players in this year's draft class.
Goodman is a prototypical 4-3 defensive end, who should be a capable three-down lineman. He has the strength to hold up against the run, and also has enough athleticism to provide some value as a pass-rusher.
He could potentially play with his hand off the ground in the 3-4 scheme, but he lacks the range that most 3-4 teams prefer in their linebackers.
The video below demonstrates why Goodman would struggle as a 3-4 linebacker. Despite having correctly diagnosed the play and being in perfect position to tackle the ball-carrier, Goodman is a step slow in closing the gap in the defensive line. This is a play that starting NFL linebackers will almost always make.
Goodman is sort of a 'tweener as a pass-rusher: He isn't an explosive edge-rusher, and he isn't a dominant bull-rusher.
The majority of Goodman's sacks in college came from favorable matchups, which he won't see often in the NFL. For example, Goodman abused LSU's true freshman right tackle Vadal Alexander for three sacks in the 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl, but he managed just four sacks in his other 12 games combined.
One issue Goodman has as a pass-rusher is his first step. He struggles to anticipate the snap count and is often the last lineman to react. His slow reaction time, coupled with his modest speed, makes it nearly impossible for him to win the battle off the snap.
Against the Run
Goodman holds up well at the point of attack. In one-on-one situations, he consistently holds his ground and puts up a good fight when the offensive lineman tries to dictate his direction.
Goodman also displays impressive read-and-react skills. He's patient while waiting for plays to develop and doesn't immediately bite on play fakes and misdirection plays.
He consistently sheds blocks and gives a great effort in pursuit. He isn't fast enough to track down many ball-carriers from behind, but he takes proper angles and is consistently ready to make a play should the opportunity present itself.
Goodman also does a great job of setting the edge and forcing runners back to the inside.
Use of Hands
Goodman isn't much of a fighter with his hands. He seems to prefer to use his footwork to maneuver around offensive tackles, rather than engage with them.
However, when Goodman is locked in a battle he does a great job of using his long arms to create leverage and force himself free in order to pursue the ball-carrier.
Goodman has the potential to carve out a nice career for himself as a 4-3 defensive end, but it's difficult to imagine him making a significant impact in any other role.
He could survive as a 3-4 linebacker, but he would struggle on the few occasions when he would be asked to drop into coverage. He simply lacks the range necessary to excel at the position.
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