Speedily, Texas receiver Goodwin cites other strengths

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 24, 2013 - 11:58 PM

Marquise Goodwin is a two-time NCAA long jump champion whose time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine could elevate his draft stock.

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Texas receiver Marquise Goodwin ran a drill during the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Sunday.

Photo: Dave Martin, Associated Press

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INDIANAPOLIS - There was plenty of anticipation Sunday for Texas slot receiver Marquise Goodwin to line up for the 40-yard dash and broad jump at the NFL combine. Everyone knows Goodwin is fast and athletic. After all, he is a two-time NCAA long jump champion and an Olympic qualifier in the event. And with his blazing speed giving him the most intrigue heading toward April's draft, Goodwin preceded Sunday's appearance at Lucas Oil Stadium with a goal of breaking Chris Johnson's combine record of 4.24 seconds.

Goodwin officially clocked a time of 4.27 seconds in the 40 and later delivered a broad jump of 132 inches.

The sprint time, while not surprising, could elevate Goodwin's stock.

Though he also insisted he was "really looking to prove I'm more than just a speed guy." To make good on that, the 5-9, 183-pound receiver will have to improve his route-running and strength off the line, quell worries about his size and prove that he's a football player and not just a track star.

"Track guys just have linear speed. I have proved I have more than linear speed," Goodwin said. "Track guys really are known to not be able to catch. I have good hands. I get out of my breaks. I can run other routes than just running a [fly]. I'm tough. I have taken on hits. I have blocked."

Speed thrills

On Sunday, five receivers posted sub-4.4 times in the 40. Goodwin was the fastest followed by West Virginia's Tavon Austin (4.34), Texas A&M's Ryan Swope (4.34), TCU's Josh Boyce (4.38) and Oklahoma's Kenny Stills (4.38).

The fastest times among running backs were delivered by Auburn's Ontario McCalebb (4.34) and Arkansas' Kniles Davis (4.37).

Health watch

Notre Dame's Manti Te'o may have attracted the most attention this weekend as linebackers went through the media ringer at the NFL combine. But Georgia's Jarvis Jones also generated conversation with heightening concerns about his health.

The All-SEC outside linebacker is dealing with spinal stenosis, a condition that has become a red flag for NFL teams.

As an on-field talent, Jones is tough and explosive and proven as an elite pass rusher. He led the nation with 14.5 sacks last fall and seems to have the ability to play either outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme or end in a 4-3.

But Jones will skip Monday's athletic activities, vowing instead to perform at his Georgia pro day March 21. And some worry seems to be spreading that the narrowing of his spine could significantly hinder his longevity in the league.

"I'm going to continue to do what I can to protect myself," Jones said. "I've got to be in the weight room more, to keep building up my neck, keep building up my shoulders."

Each NFL team has performed its own independent physical and medical checks here and will adjust accordingly. Without the medical concerns, Jones is a no-brainer top-10 pick. With them, he could slip late into the first round or beyond.

Hiding their hands

NFL general managers have become increasingly guarded and often deceptive as they share information with media and fans during the pre-draft process. Chicago's Phil Emery said this weekend he's now very selective with what he reveals.

"I want them to know about the process," Emery said. "I think that's important that they understand the process we go through. [But] there's going to be certain information we're not going to divulge because it's a very competitive business."

Emery won't share how he ranks players and even steers clear of offering up any specific assessment of draft prospects.

"I have been in a draft room where way too much information was given out and we were jumped on a player we liked and we had planned on drafting," Emery said. "There was just too much information that that was our player. So that was an uncomfortable feeling."

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