By now we now the breathtaking measurables of Malliciah Goodman: His wingspan will cause trouble for most tackles, and he is a well rounded prospect in terms of athleticism, size and strength. Nothing flashy or explosive, but solid overall. He is also a decorated hard worker and a dependable team player and leader, so he fits the general Dimitroff archetype.
Now, when you put on some tape of Goodman you can clearly see why he dropped to the fourth round: He has basically no burst in his first step, and very seldomly shows pass rushing moves to make up for it. This is the main reason he is projected to be a pure strong side run stopper. His timing of the snap is often horrible which makes him the last man moving on the DLine and he does not have typical edge rusher speed to compensate.
You would think his wingspan would help him bat down a lot of passes at the line of scrimmage. Indeed, passes defensed correlates surprisingly well with future NFL success for pass rushers, that is the reason why it is part of Football Outsider’s SackSEER projection system. Unfortunately, Goodman’s reaction time doesn’t let him dominate this particular aspect of the game, which is why he is among the lower SackSEER prospects this year.
Now, with all that being said, why did he ever get considered as a mid round prospect? The answer probably lies in one game, the Chick-Fil-A Bowl against LSU. He notched 3.5 Sacks in that game and looked outright dominant. Here’s the tape:
Now, that is an impressive game, and at a big stage at that. But here’s a look at two other games last year, against VA Tech and Auburn:
Malliciah Goodman vs Virginia Tech (2012) (via Adrian Ahufinger)
Malliciah Goodman vs Auburn (2012) (via Aaron Aloysius)
You will notice Goodman completely disappearing for most of those games. Now, here is probably the main reason why:
Against LSU, he played against RT Vadal Alexander, a true freshman who came out of high school projected as a guard. That is the very definition of what he will not face at the next level.
Now, the Aburn tape looks not as good as the LSU tape, but in a way it was a decent game. His opponent there? Avery Young, a true freshman who had his very first collegiate start that day. The TE you can see often helping out (and most of the times limiting Goodmans impact successfully) is Junior Backup TE Brandon Fulse. Yes, the Brandon Fulse. Also note how the strip sack at the end is more of a function of Frazier’s scrambling in late game desperation mode than anything impressive Goodman did on his rush.
The worst of the bunch is probably the VA Tech tape. The sole sack there is a pure coverage sack, where the QB held the ball for four seconds giving Goodman enough time to reach him. Other than that, Goodman is basically neutralized the whole game. VA Tech’s RT was Vinston Painter, an experienced Senior who got drafted yesterday in the early sixth round by the Broncos and who was an honorable mention Coaches All-ACC selection. That apparently was enough to neutralize Goodman, and there is probably a considerable step up between Painter and what he will face in the NFL
Now, let's be clear: Initial burst and reaction time are coachable. The fundamentals are all there for Goodman to become a solid strong side end who excels in run support. If he can be the LSU-Goodman, this will turn out to be a great pick. But looking at his competition, it is hard to see him as more than a developmental prospect with upside, but a long way to go.