Thursday, March 14, 2013

Prospect Profile: LB Zaviar Gooden - Missouri

Name:  Zaviar Gooden
Height:  6' - 1"
Weight:  234 lbs.
Class:  Senior
Hometown:  Pflugerville, TX
High School:  Pflugerville High School

Tigers Career

2012 Senior Year: 61 total tackles (36 solo), 4 tackles for loss, 1 interception (1 TD), 2 passes defended

2011 Junior Year: 80 total tackles (54 solo), 6 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 6 passes defensed

2010 Sophomore Year: 85 total tackles (50 solo), 7.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, 7 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble

2009 Freshman Year: 30 total tackles (21 solo), 3 tackles for loss, 1 pass defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery

2012 Senior Highlights

+ Freakishly athletic, with explosive speed and quickness
Plays sideline to sideline
Very good in man coverage
Has fluid hips and drops back like a big safety
Stays on the hip pocket of TEs for the most part
Uses his vertical speed to turn and run against even speedy slot WRs
Can use his hands to shed blocks against the run
Flows well in traffic to the ball in run support
Understands his assignments and doesn't freelance; plays with good discipline

- Is a bit undersized at the position, has a maxed out frame
Can get swallowed up by larger OL when he isn't active with his hands
Still raw in coverage, sometimes takes false steps
Needs work in zone coverage
Not a huge playmaker
Needs to be stronger in run support

Combine Performance:

40 Yard Dash: 4.47 secs*
Bench Press: 27 rep*s
Vertical: 34"
Broad Jump: 131"*
3 Cone Drill: 6.71 secs*
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.18 secs*
60 Yard Shuttle: 11.28 secs*
* Top Performer

NFL Player Comparison: LB Zach Brown - Tennessee Titans

Draft Analysis
Prior to the Combine, one of my personal choices as a sleeper pick was Zaviar Gooden from Missouri.  Gooden is a fleet-footed LB prospect that is one of the best cover players at his position in this year's draft.  Because he didn't have a strong final year, Gooden is (or should I say was) under the radar of many teams.  Gooden, as expected, blew up the Combine and had killer numbers.  His potential is great but at this juncture, Gooden is more athlete than football player.  If he can learn the nuances of the position, he could develop into a starter in the league.  His specialty is in coverage, and in today's pass happy NFL, Gooden's skill set would come very handy against H-Backs and move TEs that are trending.  Gooden needs to maintain his weight at the next level since he has maxed out his frame.  Though he is a willing in run support, that weight will keep him from getting ragdolled by NFL linemen.

Raiders Outlook
Before the Raiders lost their best linebacker, they needed help at the position, so finding talent in the draft is crucial.  Kaluka Maiva is a very under-rated signing (in my opinion) and Maiva will be a capable fill-in as Wheeler's replacement.  Even then, a guy with Gooden's ability and upside would go far in helping to improve a unit that needs as much help as the Raiders do in the secondary.  The only knock on Gooden as a fit for the Raiders is that he is strictly a 4-3 WILL.  If the team plays stretches at a time in the 3-4, Gooden would not be a good fit.  The name of the game is upgrading the roster and increasing the talent pool, and Gooden would be a good mid-round steal.

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