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Raiders Draft: Mario Goodrich, CB, Clemson scouting report

Clemson CB has visited with the Raiders

FSU v Clemson
Mario Goodrich
Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Clemson cornerback Mario Goodrich met with the Las Vegas Raiders virtually a couple of weeks ago. Goodrich is a smart defensive back who could be a valuable Day 3 option for the Raiders in this year’s NFL Draft.

CB | Clemson | 6’0 1/4” and 176 lbs | Kansas City, MO | January 12th, 2000 (22.2)

Overview:

Mario Goodrich came to Clemson as a four-star recruit and the No. 4 athlete in the country for the 2018 class, per 247Sports. He mixed into the defensive rotation as a true freshman and sophomore before becoming a full-time starter halfway through his junior year and locking that spot down as a senior. In the Tiger’s zone-heavy defense, he allowed a 47.7 percent completion rate and 524 yards, with five interceptions, 13 pass breakups and 68 total tackles.

Strengths:

  • When playing press coverage, he keeps his feet buzzing at the line of scrimmage to avoid getting caught flat-footed and help match angles
  • Pretty quick to sniff out screens and get to the right spot to help limit YAC
  • Uses his hands well in man coverage to help stay in phase on deep routes
  • In zone coverage, he has excellent eye discipline to key the quarterback and uses his peripheral vision to see threats coming into his area or anticipate what routes are coming. Also recognizes when to take his eyes to his man and latch on, an impressive mental clock.
  • Pretty good at reading the quarterback's eyes and anticipating throws
  • Recognizes when he can vacate his area to go make a play on the ball and get his hand in the passing lane when playing zone
  • Uses leverage steps when playing off coverage to maintain his spacing and help keep wide receivers out of his blind spot
  • When playing off, his transitions and ability to click and close are much quicker because he’s more under control versus playing closer to the line of scrimmage — or in press — and having to backpedal or turn and run faster. He doesn’t have to rely on his change of directions skills as much when playing off and has solid acceleration overall.
  • Good timing for PBUs when facing the quarterback
  • Against the run, he’s decently quick to diagnose the play, has the speed to get in a position to play outside contain and isn’t afraid to stick his nose in and get involved on runs to his side
  • Does a good job of taking on blocks with his hands
  • He’s solid at shedding and getting off blocks, it just might not happen until he’s down the field
  • Takes good angles to keep running backs on his inside shoulder and help limit explosive plays and/or prevent touchdowns in pursuit
  • Overall, a very smart player who isn’t going to get fooled by trick plays and can put himself in the right spot

Areas of Improvement:

  • Lacks strength to affect wide receiver’s routes at the line of scrimmage, making it difficult to defend against slants and short routes
  • A little quick to open his hips to the outside in press coverage, and he doesn’t have the hip fluidity to recover when the receiver cuts back inside
  • Slightly late to recognize 90-degree or more routes in man coverage, he isn’t good at reading the wideout’s shoulders
  • Bites on head fakes at the top of routes and his speed turns aren’t very tight to recover and get back in phase
  • At 176 pounds, he’s light for an NFL corner and struggles to stay attached to receivers who are physical at the top of routes
  • Not going to win in a lot of mutual hand fights or “you push, I pull” situations
  • He will struggle to defend deep routes at the next level if he doesn’t get hands on the receiver, he’s not that fast and ran a 4.52-second 40-yard dash time at the combine
  • Gets grabby on downfield routes and is pretty reliant on using his hands in man coverage
  • Has lapses when pattern matching where he’ll miss the switch
  • Needs to drop his butt more and sink when click and closing, he takes too many steps to transition from working backward to forward to get in a position to drive and make a play on the ball. Best-case scenario, he’ll get there right after the catch and just make the tackle.
  • He has shorter arms — 30 5/8” — which makes it tough to play the hands at the catch point from behind the receiver, especially since he doesn’t adjust his body to be in a better position to make a play on the ball. He’ll try to go through the pass-catcher’s back instead of working a side.
  • Struggles to hold ground against tight ends and bigger wide receivers against the run
  • Won’t knock any runningbacks backward with his tackling and they’ll gain a yard or two after contact with his lack of size and strength
  • Likes to tackle with his shoulder instead of wrapping up when tackling in the box
  • Susceptible to getting run over or juked when tackling in the open field because he stops his feet
NCAA Football: Cheez-It Bowl-Clemson at Iowa State
Mario Goodrich
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries:

  • 2020: Undisclosed (missed 1 game)
  • 2020: Ankle (missed 0 games, offseason scope surgery)
  • 2021: Groin (missed 1 game)
  • 2021: Bruised and Broken ribs (suffered at Senior Bowl, sat out of combine drills)

Projection:

NFL Mock Draft Database consensus big board rank: 111th overall, 4th round

Goodrich’s stock has been fairly consistent since the Senior Bowl, hovering around the 110 to 140 range. He had an impressive showing in Mobile but unfortunately, injuries have played a role in hampering his ability to build on that momentum at the NFL Combine and Clemson’s pro day. Personally, I’d put the former Tiger close to the fifth-round category, however, I wouldn’t argue much with the early Day 3 slotting NMDD has for him.

Schematically, Goodrich needs to play a lot of off coverage in a zone-heavy defense. That way his lack of press coverage skills can be hidden and the team can take advantage of his high football IQ.

What do we need to know?

Is he fast enough to play corner in the NFL? Goodrich might never be someone who can hold up physically with wide receivers at the next level, so he’ll have to make up for it with speed and athleticism. But, running a sub-par 40 and showing the potential to get beat deep on film could be a major red flag for NFL scouts and general managers. Even if he plays in a zone-heavy defense, his ability to click and close to prevent completions will be a question mark at his current speed.

Fit with the Raiders:

Las Vegas could use some depth at cornerback for this season and someone that they can develop as a future starter moving forward. I’m not 100 percent sold on the latter, but Goodrich can definitely contribute as a rotational piece in the Raiders’ secondary. He should be available when they pick in the fourth round and might even still be on the board with the 164th and 165th selections.

New defensive coordinator Patrick Graham would undoubtedly love to work with Goodrich’s intelligence. The Clemson product is extremely smart and instinctual and could easily earn the coach’s trust and allow the coach to continue to mix up and run complicated coverages if the team has to dip into the depth chart at corner. As far as Goodrich’s fit goes with the Silver and Black, the biggest area of concern would be his man coverage skills but it’ll be hard to find another player with his instincts on Day 3.

Film Clips: