NFC North: Marquise Goodwin

Advancing the WR conversation

February, 25, 2013
At least two of our teams will have wide receivers on their priority list this offseason. The Minnesota Vikings need all the help they can get, while the Chicago Bears probably would benefit from a receiver with deep downfield speed.

So what did we learn over the weekend about the draft-eligible receivers? The speedsters got majority of attention but, as in every year, they are not necessarily the best receiver prospects.

Texas' Marquise Goodwin, for example, ran a blazing 4.27 in the 40-yard dash. But receiving drills "exposed some weaknesses," according to Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. Goodwin "isn't a natural route runner," Muench tweeted.

West Virginia's Tavon Austin, on the other hand, was as smooth in receiving drills as he was in the 40 (officially a 4.34), and now has a good chance to be a first-round pick. Other likely first-rounders are Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson and Cal's Keenan Allen, according to ESPN's John Clayton.

I spent most of the scouting combine focusing on time with NFC North coaches and general managers, leaving the reporting on draft-eligible players to ESPN's vast array of specialists. But many of you are looking to at least be pointed in the direction of that coverage, and that's fair.

On receivers, a good place to start is Todd McShay's daily blog . You need an Insider subscription to read all of it, but I can pass along a few tidbits -- including the suggestion that Patterson's teammate at Tennessee -- Justin Hunter -- is "a better overall receiver at this point."

Other receivers who jumped out to McShay were Texas A&M's Ryan Swope, who surprised scouts by running a 4.34 in the 40. USC's Robert Woods is now "solidly in the second-round range," according to McShay, and Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins might be as well.
INDIANAPOLIS -- It's fair to assume the Minnesota Vikings will draft a wide receiver this year. Sunday, we learned at least one important fact about the pool they'll have to choose from: It has some elite speedsters.

Two receivers -- West Virginia's Tavon Austin and Texas' Marquise Goodwin -- unofficially ran the 40-yard dash in under 4.3 seconds Sunday at the NFL scouting combine. Their best unofficial times were 4.25 seconds, which would be combine records for wide receivers if they stand.

The combine record for all players is 4.24 seconds by Tennessee Titans tailback Chris Johnson in 2008. When I have Sunday's official times, I'll update this post. UPDATE: Goodwin's official time was 4.27. Austin was given a 4.34. Still awfully fast on both counts.

Austin and Goodwin each had two attempts at the 40. Austin -- whose skill set has drawn comparisons to that of the Vikings' Percy Harvin -- ran a 4.25 and a 4.31. Goodwin followed his 4.25 with a 4.29.

We all know that combine performances are more important for some positions than others. Speed for receivers is pretty essential. Even though we are all aware of speedy receivers who failed in the NFL, there is no stopping Austin and Goodwin from leaving this combine with a fair amount of buzz.