NFL teams would be crazy to let Marquise Goodwin slip past second round


Elisabeth Dillon

Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin may not have been on many NFL draft boards throughout his collegiate career, but solid combine numbers coupled with elite speed have him climbing the pre draft ranks.

Christian Corona

After one of Texas’ media availabilities two Novembers ago, I rode down a Belmont Hall elevator with one of the fastest men on campus — Marquise Goodwin.

When I asked him how fast he was, exactly, Goodwin told me he ran a 4.28-second 40-yard dash. Unbelievable.

Sure enough, Goodwin showed up at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.27 seconds — the second-fastest time in combine history and the fastest ever by a wide receiver.

“I was really confident going into it,” Goodwin said. “When I got out and finished I knew it was going to be a good time. Just was waiting for it to be posted. I had prepared so much for it that I knew that I was going to run well before I even stepped on the line. There was no question about that.”

Goodwin will be among the several former Longhorns who will have a chance to showcase their skills at Texas’ Pro Day on Tuesday. Kenny Vaccaro and Alex Okafor have maintained their positions as potential first-round picks. But after Goodwin’s performance at the NFL Combine, his draft stock is rapidly rising.

Goodwin never caught more than 33 passes in a season, didn’t record a rushing touchdown until his senior year and the only kickoff return he ever took all the way back came in a win over Texas A&M during his freshman campaign.

He didn’t put up gaudy numbers like Tavon Austin, who racked up 7,291 all-purpose yards during his illustrious West Virginia career. He’s about six inches shorter than Tennessee’s Justin Hunter and about 30 pounds lighter than another Vols wideout, Cordarrelle Patterson.

But when Goodwin steps onto an NFL field for the first time, he’ll already be one of the fastest — if not the fastest — players in the league. He shouldn’t slip past the second round.

Goodwin is the kind of player that changes games. In his last one with the Longhorns, he took a reverse 64 yards for a touchdown on the first snap of the second quarter after Texas hadn’t gotten a first down for the entire first quarter.

The Longhorns trailed by four points in the final minutes of the fourth quarter until Goodwin ran an out-and-up on Oregon State’s Tyrequek Zimmerman. When Texas quarterback David Ash released the ball, Goodwin was about five yards behind Zimmerman. Goodwin caught the ball in the end zone for the game-winning score, and he was about five yards ahead of Zimmerman.

You can’t teach speed. So when it comes time for NFL executives and coaches to gather in their respective war rooms, they need to have Goodwin’s name near the top of their list.

Printed on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 as: Goodwin gaining ground