Scouting Report: Malliciah GoodmanHere’s my take on defensive end Malliciah Goodman, the first of a pair of fourth round picks by the Falcons in 2013.
Height: 6-3 5/8
Speed: 4.87 (Combine)
Goodman was a highly recruited prospect at Clemson, and finished his career strong with a 3-sack effort against LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. In that game, he was working against a true freshman who began the season as a backup and dominated him early before LSU made adjustments. He began his career as the backup to Da’Quan Bowers, recording 3 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. In his first year as a starter, he had 2 sacks and 4 tackles for loss. As a senior, he was shut out in terms of sacks for the first four games of the season. But finished the year with 7 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in the final 6 games, including the 3-sack, 3-TFL performance in the finale vs. LSU. Goodman transitioned to the Combine where he impressed again with his long arms. They were measured 36 and 3/8 inches, making them the longest of any of the prospects in Indianapolis. Those long arms give him a lot of developmental potential as a defensive end where they can be highly valuable as an edge rusher. He played exclusively at left end at Clemson.
2012: 13 GP/13 GS, 20 tackles, 9.5 TFLs, 7 sacks, 0 INT, 1 PD, 4 FF, 0 FR
2012 GAMES WATCHED
vs. Auburn (9/1): 2.5 TFLs, 1 FF
at Florida State (9/22): No production
vs. South Carolina (11/24): 1 TFL, 2 pressures, 1 QB hit, 1 FF; 1 penalty (offsides)
vs. LSU (12/31): 3 sacks, 2 pressures, 1 PD; 1 key blocked
These are general skills required for his position and relative to not only top collegiate prospects, but also NFL players. Grades are based on a 10-point rating scale: 1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Strength (6.5) – Shows decent strength, flashing some power as a pass rusher and run defender. Able to deliver a power punch to the tight end when trying to get his hands inside and get leverage against the run. Putting up 26 bench reps despite having 36-inch arms indicate that his weight room strength is higher than that number indicates.
Quickness (6.0) – Goodman shows his best burst and first step off the ball when he is allowed to pin his ears back and attack upfield. He has enough speed and burst off the edge to set up slower-footed right tackles. He has decent straight-line burst off the edge, but not a guy that is going to consistently close even when unblocked.
Pass Rush (5.0) – Goodman showed his ability to use his long arms to get extension as a speed rusher vs. LSU, but had shown little of that prior to. He lacks really any moves besides trying to win solely with that speed rush. Doesn’t do a good job using his hands to get inside for a power move, despite his long arms and strength being an excellent combo to develop it. He’s got the tools to be a very effective pass rusher, but he’s raw and unpolished at this point in his development.
Point of Attack (5.0) – Doesn’t make many plays at the point of attack versus the run, as many of his stops come on the backside pursuit. Struggles to anchor at the point of attack and can’t consistently get off blocks. Doesn’t make very many plays when you run at him, and struggles to get leverage against zone blocks.
Recognition (5.0) – Doesn’t show great recognition when it comes to sniffing out screens or shovel passes.
Motor (6.0) – Plays with a good motor and will play to the whistle. Gives chase downfield when working in pursuit. Won’t quit on his pass rush.
Goodman is a developmental end with tools you like to develop in a capable edge pass rusher, but he’s fairly raw and unpolished. Too raw at this point to really indicate his upside, although he should be a player that can be a functional starter and everydown player. He might have a longer length to impact because he is essentially a one-move guy. He’s a speed rusher that lacks ideal edge speed, suggesting he’s more likely to ultimately develop into a rotational player rather than a reliable and productive starter. He’s more in line with fifth round talent, but the premium on pass rushers push his value up into the fourth round in value.
Grade: 4.2 – Has enough ability to potentially be a starter, but if he does develop it’ll likely come after his rookie contract expires and he hits free agency. Tends to have ability and productive college player, but tends to be lacking in more than one key area that limit his upside to start on the next level. Click here for more information on my grading system.
Goodman is a bit of a tweener with the size and experience in Clemson’s defense that he could be looked at as a 5-technique or 3-4 defensive end. But he plays and looks more comfortable as a 4-3 defensive end that can use his speed.
The problem is that while Goodman is most natural as a speed rusher in the 4-3, he really lacks the ideal burst at this point to really impact at the next level. He just doesn’t currently have the speed and burst to be scary enough for NFL starting right tackles. But he could if he was to slim down. He’s the type of player that could be more effective playing his current style if he was closer to 265 rather than 275 pounds.
But the other issue with Goodman is not what he is now, but what he eventually could become. He also has the frame to support probably another 10-15 pounds, and thus offer the potential to play inside. He has the tools that you could imagine him being an effective interior speed rusher with development, but at this point he’s largely untested there. And more than likely, if that is where you want to develop him, you won’t see results until a few years down the road.
That’s the issue with Goodman, regardless of how you go, he’s not likely to be a huge contributor in his rookie year and possibly his second year. He can help out in the rotation, but he’s not a great run stopper despite having good size and strength. He can definitely get better there, but he’s not good enough to think he’ll be a better option than players like Kroy Biermann, Cliff Matthews, or Jonathan Babineaux could be at defensive end for the Falcons in 2013. And he’s got tools as a pass rusher, but not any that would mean he deserves significant reps there initially either. So Goodman’s ability to play on Sundays as a rookie might largely depend on his ability to play on special teams.
Goodman has the potential that if he can develop, he could be a solid left end in a 4-3. If the Falcons choose to bulk him up, the possibility that he could play outside on first and second down, and then move inside on third downs (a la Justin Tuck) is a possibility. But for Goodman to earn that role, he has to be a lot better with his hands playing inside. His speed could be very effective there, but he doesn’t have the type of burst that he can win as a pure speed guy inside. Ultimately, you’re hoping he turns into a player similar to Desmond Bryant in Oakland, who has similar physical tools and showed he was a solid rotational inside/outside player.
I think asking Goodman to lose weight however might be a better option to get him to impact quickly. You won’t have to really teach him new moves, just refine his already developing speed rush.
I’m not sure Goodman is likely to become a starter in Atlanta. I think he’s more likely to become a Chauncey Davis-type of role player. Goodman should be a more effective pass rusher than Davis was and the sort of guy you’d be willing to start in a pinch. But ideally, he’ll only be a guy that plays 30 snaps per game that can add value both as a run defender and pass rusher, but not excel enough at either area to be more than a third or fourth end in the rotation. It’s not for a lack of potential, because if Goodman can develop a better array of moves and become a more consistent run defender, he does have the upside to be able to present problems for starting NFL tackles. If he reaches his maximum potential, you’re probably looking at an above average starter that can consistently produce a half-dozen sacks per year. But again, more than likely he becomes a solid role player that is best coming off the bench situationally.