Continuing with our Q&As with bloggers who covered the Bills draft class in college, we are going to get some info about Marquise Goodwin from Kris Hughes who is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. He formerly ran a Texas-focused blog called Bevo’s Corner and has been a Texas football season ticket holder since 2002. You can follow Kris on Twitter @KrisHughesRS.
1) What are his strengths and weaknesses?
It’s no mystery that Marquise Goodwin’s speed is his biggest asset. Clocked at an unofficial 4.17 40 during the NFL Draft Combine, there will be few guys at any position in the NFL next season — rookies or veterans — who have better straight-line speed than he does. This speed is coupled with some great athleticism.
Goodwin barely missed out on qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics in the high jump and was one of the best collegiate high jumpers in America during his four years on the Forty Acres. This love for competition in track could be a concern, given that he has been reticent in the past to give it up entirely and it’s possible he could have an itch to try an qualify again someday for Olympic competition. Goodwin’s size is a relative concern as well, but his toughness should make up for that and then some.
2) The Bills are going to run a west coast offense with 3-wide sets and running short passes with some vertical element to them. How do you see this working out for Goodwin?
I think there’s a fair amount of underestimation out there about Marquise Goodwin’s ball skills because he was typically featured in deep routes and as a vertical threat. He does have a little shakiness catching balls in traffic — largely due to lack of repetition in those situations — but that doesn’t mean he can’t adapt to being looked for in both long and short passing situations. His biggest initial benefit will be in the deep game and in routes that will allow him to catch balls in space, make a defender miss, and let his speed takeover. He made plenty of plays in reverses and other gimmicky calls where he had space to operate.
3) Should Bills fans be worried about his durability since he's 5'8?
Goodwin played with and through nagging hamstring and ankle injuries throughout his time at Texas. Certainly at 5’8” he’ll be dealing with larger defensive backs in coverage, but his quick feet and ability to crate space because of his speed often overrides whatever height disadvantages he encounters. Goodwin’s tough as nails and will always trend toward playing if he’s physically able — Bills fans shouldn’t be concerned that he’ll milk any typical NFL wear-and-tear injuries.
4) Do you think he can be a legit NFL player? Why?
I’m not entirely positive that Goodwin can be an every down wideout for the Bills, but he can certainly be used in situations where his speed and athleticism can be of a benefit. There’s no doubt he can have an impact in special teams either as a kick or punt returner, and probably even in kick coverage as a gunner if the Bills go that way. His desire to try and make the Olympics had purely to do with heart, however, so I wouldn’t underestimate his desire to become an every down player someday.
5) Can he run precise short routes or is he a one trick pony who goes deep? Why?
To put it plainly, Goodwin was not used correctly at Texas. When he was healthy and available, he was used sparingly in situations where a deep threat was needed, where a trick play was run to keep the defense honest, or in the kicking game. Given this he didn’t necessarily have the reps he needed to develop the type of first-tier route running skills that you may see from the premier receivers in this year’s draft like Nuke Hopkins or Cordarelle Patterson, but this doesn’t mean he can’t develop those skills with the right coaching. Yes, he’ll be a deep threat first and foremost, but he has stated a desire to become a complete receiver in short order.
6) What type of character is he?
Marquise was a fan favorite and is generally known to be an amicable and well-liked guy. There’s also little question about Goowin’s intelligence — he scored a 33/50 on the Wonderlic at the combine and finished his time at Texas with a 3.24 GPA in Kinesiology. In short, he’s a good guy who will appreciate his opportunity and will do his best to make the most of it and certainly won’t be involved in the off-field shenanigans we so often hear about with rookies.
7) What kind of player are the Bills getting?
Marquise Goodwin’s a hard worker who will do everything in his power to be the best receiver/kick returner/special teams guy he can possibly be and will look to expand that role. He’s obviously self-motivated, as his drive toward the 2012 London Olympics suggests, and will take direction and coaching well. All in all, he’s a solid guy with some special skills that could indeed be a diamond in the rough when it’s all said and done.