By Marc Sluis, Staff Writer
They say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, so to add another layer to that saying we could say to know your friends well but your enemies better. I’ll provide a team by team analysis of the AFC East’s draft class and what we can expect to see from each come the fall. We’ll start up north in Buffalo.
Marquise Goodwin WR Texas
Everyone loves measurables, especially the 40 times of receivers. Goodwin is an Olympic level long jumper and ran a blazing 4.37 at the combine. Sometimes, however, those without pads numbers simply don’t translate to the football field. Goodwin has a lot of tools and is blessed with some real athletic potential, but simply put I don’t think the risk/reward trade off is worth a third round pick. Even though he averaged a healthy 12.6 yards per play from scrimmage and 6 TD he only mustered 491 yards from scrimmage in 2012.
That’s not enough production for me to justify a third round value when his lack of size and ability to transfer that athleticism to the football field are already in question. Expect a few splash plays, but all in all I think he will be over-matched physically. His real value may be on special teams.
Da’Rick Rogers WR Tennessee Tech
In terms of on the field ability, not only do I think Rogers is head and shoulders above Goodwin, but feel he is no question the third or fourth most talented receiver in the 2013 class. The fact he went undrafted was a shock to me. I fully understand the off the field issues, but I’ve seen those passed up often to add a dynamic prospect or sign a free agent. Heck, Albert Haynesworth stomped on a guy’s face in front of a national TV audience and got paid!
I’m not sure I can fault the league for passing on him (was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, then later dismissed after multiple failed drug tests). I’m just surprised it happened. On the field I fully expect Rogers to earn a starting spot and probably even be one of the top targets of whoever plays QB. A 38 inch vertical, 4.52 40, thick 6’2 frame and willingness to go over the middle and take hits are all signs of a future star. Yes star.
Long Term Value:
Robert Woods WR USC
You probably notice a theme here. The Bills 2013 rookie class is headlined of course by Florida St. quarterback EJ Manuel, but I think the receiver group may have almost as much of an impact both positive and negative. Goodwin is a superb (actually world class) athlete but may very well be an athlete and not a football player at the pro level. Rogers is troubled and needs to really stay focused in order to avoid wasting his massive potential.
The median of that wide range of under-perform to outperform in terms of draft value is second round pick Robert Woods of USC. Woods was a widely mocked first round (even top ten) talent to start the year, but when Matt Barkley failed to deliver as expected Woods’ stock took a bit of a hit. His junior numbers of 74 catches for 849 yards and 11 TD is nothing to sneeze at, but pales in comparison to a monster sophomore season. In that second year at Southern Cal he caught 111 balls for 1,292 and 15 TD.
His 4.51 40 was solid though he apparently ran a 4.42 at his Pro Day. It’s not just speed though that makes Woods a legitimate NFL starter. He was one of the most polished route runners to enter the draft, has great hands and body control. He can work out of the slot or out wide. While not the true “home run” threat Goodwin might be Woods will have a solid career and be someone with the skill-set to be a very valuable and productive NFL receiver. The one downside could be injuries.