2015 NFL Draft: Antwan Goodley to the Bengals Makes Sense

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Dec 6, 2014; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears wide receiver Antwan Goodley (5) runs with the ball against the Kansas State Wildcats during the game at McLane Stadium. The Bears defeated the Wildcats 38-27. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Recent reports and comments made by the Bengals‘ staff suggest the team may be looking to invest in another wide receiver in the upcoming draft.  The intention is to add a player who will make the receiving group more dynamic.  Marvin Lewis has suggested the team may seek a player with returning ability while offensive coordinator Hue Jackson has said he wants a playmaker with speed.

When considering the Bengals’ needs in the upcoming draft and where they should draft them, finding a receiver on Day Two, or even Day Three, would be highly beneficial.  With such a deep receiver class, there will likely be more than one option available to the team.  But in the later rounds of the draft, the Bengals could find a steal in Baylor wide receiver Antwan Goodley.

Like many selections that occur in the draft’s later rounds, Goodley will need some coaching and work. It’s the details that are missing from his game, but route running deficiencies and refinement in the finer points of receiving are coachable issues, as is Goodley’s need to improve the reliability of his hands.  But with Hue Jackson’s creativity, the Bengals could benefit from Goodley’s presence during his rookie season.

During his time at Baylor, Antwan Goodley was used in a variety of ways.  Because of his athletic ability and physicality, Baylor was able to line up Goodley both on the outside and in the slot.  He’s quick and agile enough to burn corners with a single move, which allows him to get open across the middle.  On the outside, his speed puts corners on their heels.  This space gives Goodley the space to catch short, screen passes and create after the catch.

These short to intermediate routes are important to the Bengals offensive game plan.  They often run such routes in an effort to get the ball out of Andy Dalton‘s hands quickly.  Goodley’s ability to produce yards after the catch is also vital as the Bengals ask their playmakers to produce in this way, a natural consequence of running short, quick routes.

But Antwan Goodley’s ability on these short routes force defenders to close the gap between themselves and Goodley pre-snap.  Goodley has the speed and leaping ability to then burn defenders deep on the outside and make a catch downfield.  This type of dual-threat ability when deciding on his employment as a receiver should bring the new dynamic to the receiving group the Bengals seek.

Beyond his competency as a receiver, Antwan Goodley also possesses ability as both a running back and returner.  Although he wasn’t used a great deal in the backfield, Goodley carried the ball 18 times for 130 yards during his Baylor career.  This means he isn’t a stranger to taking a handoff.  More importantly, his ability in the backfield means Goodley could line up there and then break out as a receiving option for Dalton.

Goodley’s ability to line up outside, in the slot, as in the backfield means he has just about as much diversity as an offensive coordinator could seek; the pre-snap movement could be amazing for the Bengals, and perplexing for opponents.

As a returner, Antwan Goodley was employed early and often during his freshman and sophomore years.  During this time span, he returned 43 kickoffs for a total of 993 yards.  These are spectacular numbers, but they are solid enough to offer the Bengals someone to train at the position.  With some work, Goodley could turn into a quality returner.

In case you were wondering, Goodley only returned the ball twice during his junior and senior years combined.  Acting as the team’s primary receiver is the likely reason for this decrease in usage.

Antwan Goodley offers both experience and ability in all the areas the Bengals are looking for.  He hasn’t been the most acclaimed prospect, so it’s likely he’ll be available on Day Three of the upcoming draft.  The Bengals’ decision regarding Goodley will lie in how quickly and often they’d like to employ the receiver they select.  If they want a day one starter, the team will and should look elsewhere.  But with potentially three strong receivers ahead of any rookie on the depth chart, they are likely willing to wait and develop the player they select.  Antwan Goodley fits the bill in every way.

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