In advance of attending the NFL combine in Indianapolis later this month, ESPNBoston.com has identified 10 prospects it wants to learn more about. Along those lines, Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. is helping provide background and insight from his time studying tape and attending all-star games such as the Senior Bowl.
Player: Marquise Goodwin
Position: Wide receiver
Height/weight: 5-foot-8 7/8, 179 pounds
Why he's on the radar: If the Patriots are seeking more speed at receiver, they don't come much faster than Goodwin.
Projection: Middle rounds
Muench's take: "Goodwin’s impressive top-end speed is his greatest strength and he’s a candidate to make the highlight reel every time he steps on the field. The proof is on the tape. He took a reverse 64 yards for a touchdown against Oregon State in the Valero Alamo Bowl and he took the top off the coverage with two deep catches against Ole Miss earlier in the year. There’s also a lot to like about his potential returning kickoffs and the Patriots have plenty of room for improvement in that area. However, he projects as a Day 3 pick for good reasons, starting with his size. As is the case with West Virginia’s Tavon Austin, who we touched on earlier this week, Goodwin hasn’t sustained any serious injuries to the best of our knowledge, but his frame raises concerns about his ability to stay healthy at the NFL level. He’s not built to win 50-50 balls downfield either, so he’s not a prototypical vertical threat a la Randy Moss in his prime. Goodwin’s 8.5-inch hands and 30.6-inch arms are also well below average for a receiver prospect. Finally, it’s important to note that Goodwin is a track star who finished 10th in the long jump at the London Olympics. Impressive, but it would be tough to argue that the time he’s spent on the track hasn’t stunted his growth as a receiver. At this point he’s at his best catching screens, running vertical routes and taking handoffs."