By Glenn Naughton
With the NFL combine behind us and the draft just around the corner, mock drafts will be flooding all of your favorite sports sites at an even more ridiculous rate than they have over the past few weeks.
While it’s always fun to sit back and play armchair GM, trying to predict each of your team’s picks, doing so accurately is impossible.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do a little bit of digging to give yourself a better idea as to not only who they’re watching right now, but who they’ve had under the microscope for several months. Luckily for Jets fans, we’ve done the digging on Gang Green, and over the course of the next few weeks will be sharing some names of players the Jets have shown a significant interest it.
This won’t be based on rumors or speculation, but on certain criteria that must be met:
- Did the Jets dispatch members of their scouting department to at least one of the player’s games during the 2016 season?
- Did the Jets dispatch members of their scouting department to at least one of the player’s practices during the 2016 season?
- Did the Jets conduct at least one interview with the player?
- Did the player participate in the Senior Bowl? (Mike Maccagnan has drafted several senior bowl participants in his first two seasons) or, did the team attend that player’s pro day as the draft approaches?
- Does the player fill a need for the Jets?
If all of those questions have a “yes” answer, it’s safe to say the interest shown by the Jets is legitimate, or at least noteworthy.
To view previously highlighted players, visit our draft section here.
Today we take a look at Penn State wide receiver Chris Godwin.
Godwin’s name recently surfaced as a player who came in to Florham Park for a visit with Gang Green and is someone whom Jets fans should be familiar with as his combination of speed, athleticism and outstanding hand/eye coordination make him an intriguing option for any offense looking to add a wide receiver.
In a draft class that has seen so much of the pre-draft buzz revolve around the wealth of defensive talent available from top to bottom, and quarterbacks generating a good chunk of the offensive hype, sometimes it seems as if we’re going weeks at a time without hearing any wide receiver talk.
The highly regarded duo of Corey Davis (Western Michigan) and Mike Williams (Clemson) garnered all of the early buzz as draft season began, then of course John Ross blew the roof at the combine, running a record-setting 40 time of 4.22, putting himself in the conversation as a first round talent.
The next tier of receivers is where Godwin appears to fall, currently projected as a round 2 choice by CBSsports.com. Unless the Jets were blown away during Godwin’s visit, taking him with the 6th pick in round 2 would be considered a reach at this point, but if the Jets were to add a late second-round or early 3rd round pick in a potential trade down in round 1 or in any deal possibly involving Sheldon Richardson, that could be an ideal spot for Godwin.
In a draft this deep, it’s also impossible to say who will and will not fall when the day comes. Godwin may be a projected 2nd round pick, but don’t be surprised if his name isn’t called a round or two later.
In looking at Godwin’s all-around game, there’s nothing that jumps out as being too much to ask. His spatial awareness is outstanding as he makes one catch after another while approaching the boundary at full speed before putting on the brakes to to stay in bounds. He can also be seen regularly plucking the ball out of the air in tight coverage, and uses his 6′ 1” frame to play a lot bigger than expected.
Godwin’s 4.42 time in Indy doesn’t appear to show up as regularly as you might like though, as he ranked 294th out of 510 collegiate wide receivers in yards after the catch (YAC) at 4.5 according to PFF.com, who also noted Godwin’s 7.8% drop rate, raking him 129th in the nation of 262 eligible receivers.
There is some tenacity in Godwin’s game as well, as he shows up frequently as a quality blocker in the run game while cracking down on defenders. An attribute that would come in handy should the Jets opt to go with a run-heavy offense in 2017 to take pressure off of any of their young quarterbacks who may win the starting job. Especially his former college quaterback, Christian Hackenberg.
During his time at Penn State, Godwin had a pedestrian Freshman season, but he made a name for himself in year two while working with Hackenberg, posting 69 receptions for 1,101 yards and 5 touchdowns. His receptions and yards dipped slightly to 59 and 982 in his third and final season, but he saw his touchdowns more than double as he scored 11 times.
There’s no bigger stage in sports than New York, and the big stage is where Godwin has been most impressive. In 3 career bowl games (vs. Boston College, Georgia and USC), Godwin hauled in 22 catches 460 yards and 3 touchdowns.
A big-time player who steps it up when the lights shine brighter? Sign me up.