When the Falcons selected Malliciah Goodman out of Clemson a year ago in the fourth round, most of the talk around him was whether his strength and size would translate favorably to the NFL.
For his rookie season, the answer was a sort of tentative yes. Goodman had stretches where he looked like a run-stopping force of nature and at least a marginally useful pass rusher, but he was also washed out of many plays. Those violent hands weren't enough by themselves without great technique, and so Goodman settled in as a nice backup.
Entering 2014, Goodman has a legitimate chance to be more than that. He has bulked up at least 15 pounds, preparation necessary to play 3-4 end and move inside on 4-3 looks at times. With that additional bulk has come additional strength, by the looks of it, and Goodman has been one of the more quietly impressive players in camp thus far.
So why are we featuring Goodman in this series? It's potential as much as improvement. The Falcons have Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson to give them bulk up front, but neither is a true three-down player. Jonathan Babineaux is on the wrong side of the aging curve and guys like Kroy BIermann, Osi Umenyiora and Jonathan Massaquoi are going to be pulling double duty at end and linebacker, more than likely. That leaves guys like Goodman, Corey Peters and Ra'Shede Hageman as the young hybrid DE/DTs up front, and Peters is coming off a major injury.
If Goodman can continue to show improvement, I fully anticipate that he'll be in line for a major increase in snaps this season. If he has refined his technique to go along with the gains in strength and size, I honestly believe he can be a good, starting-caliber end for a team with a need for more than two.
What do you think of Goodman?