“You can never have enough pass runners,” former New York Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi once said. This adage has been repeated by every NFL executive since Accorsi first said it in 2006.
But some NFL defense math has changed some of it over the past two decades, and now it’s also true that we say “You can never get enough players.” Many modern defensive schemes rely heavily on having five or six defenses on the field at the same time. Teams need enough corners to stay healthy year-round, correspond to strong passing fouls, and allow for strange blitz schemes. So they need deep, talented blueprints in the back corner.
Enter Clemson Cornerback Mario Goodrich.
Goodrich isn’t among the top players in this year’s semester draft, and has often been overshadowed by his more famous teammate. However, Goodrich has the skill to be a potential gem if the lands are in the right position.
Prospect: Mario Goodrich (31)
Watched matches: Against Georgia (2021), vs. North Carolina (2021), vs. Pittsburgh (2021), vs. Iowa (2021)
red flags: Ankle (2019, surgery spring 2020)
Height: 6 foot
Weight: 186 pounds
arm length: 30 1⁄2 inches
its wings: 74 1/8 inch
to hand in: 9 inches
Played matches: 31
Loss interventions: 0.5
Forcibly sensing: 1
Defense passes: 9
Objections: 5 (1 drop)
Played matches: 11
Loss interventions: 0
Forcibly sensing: 1
Defense passes: 9
Objections: 2 (1 landing)
better: Foot speed, recovery speed, size, versatility, running defense
worst: Hip fluidity and ball skills
prediction: A developmental corner with a spin or an upward start and the versatility of the scheme
(Goodrich is CB No. 31)
Clemson Cornbeck Mario Goodrich has a good mix of size, athleticism, and versatility for focused play at the NFL level.
Goodrich has a good size of 6ft 190lbs, with enough athleticism to play the man or cover the area at the NFL level. Goodrich usually lines up to the outside on the outside of the Clemson defense, as opposed to the hole. It has enough size to match most NFL wide receivers without being overwhelmed or at a disadvantage. Likewise, he has the athletic and movement skills to implement most covering techniques.
Goodrich has press and field experience with the cutting-edge Clemson Defensive Scheme. He is an active communicator during the pre-blitz phase and shows rapid mental processing and discipline after the blitz. Goodrich lights up physically when picking up the ball at the Pressman, as well as good speed down the field. It’s able to keep up with most receivers on vertical roads, or offset the ground if it gets hit initially.
Goodrich has a keen sense and does a good job of keeping his eyes on the court when playing area coverage. The midfielder reads well and is rarely fooled by misdirection. Likewise, it shows a very quick catalyst when it’s time to play on the slopes. He wastes little time or movement shooting downhill and stopping in the short to medium area of the field.
He is also a good defender at full-back. Goodrich glows physically well at a steady edge on the perimeter and is a willing attacker. Likewise, he has the technology and playing power to do blocking games and doesn’t seem to make “business decisions”.
However, Goodrich’s aggression and handling can be inconsistent. It can be prone to stability for shoulder examination or arm treatments if it does not have a large angle. Likewise, he can sometimes take a “wait and see” approach if his teammates appear to have a curled ball carrier, rather than rushing to the ball himself.
In the coverage, Goodrich appears to have some slight stiffness in his hips. Not so much as a safety, but it lacks the great liquidity that top corner prospects have. His feet can also struggle a bit when he needs to transition quickly from backpedal to running on the field, or from backpedal to driving on the ball. Goodrich also lacks impressive ball production, with only five interceptions in four years, although his production has improved with increased playing time as seniors.
Overall score: 7.0
Mario Goodrich will likely start his career in the NFL as a developmental prospect.
He has a lot to do with him, and the coaches will probably be excited to get their hands on him. He has a knack for executing a variety of cover schemes, on the upside as a running defender, and flashes of impressive aggression. However, he will likely need some time and training to resolve the inconsistencies in his game.
How long Goodrich takes as a “development” corner, and how quickly he climbs into the depth chart, can depend on where he lands. The flashes of aggression in his game, and the way his game went up when the rest of the defense caught on, suggested that playing in an aggressive defense would benefit him at the NFL level. Goodrich also has experience as a stealth angler, who fits in well with many of the NFL’s aggressive schemes.
He will likely be able to make his way onto the field early in his career in the right position, especially if a hatch appears at the top of the depth chart.
Goodrich, in general, appears to be a good athlete for the job. He has quick feet and good speed in the short area, as well as plenty of long speed in the field. However, some slight stiffness – which can affect his transformations as well as make him a bit “grabbed” in tight coverage – may cause him to struggle in tight coverage of the press man against sports receivers at the NFL level. However, he’s so good at man (with a small pillow), off man, and area coverage that he should have enough scheme variety to offer value for a variety of defenses.
Even if Goodrich wasn’t able to make his way onto the field as a novice, he could still offer value as a depth piece or as a rotation player for defense that relied heavily on nickel or dime sub-packs.
Goodrich suffered an ankle injury early in the 2019 season, which “disturbed” him all year long. He underwent surgery in the spring of 2020, and teams will want to pay attention to his medical reports.