The Chicago Bears took a bit of a risk in the second round of last year's draft, selecting defensive lineman Eddie Goldman out of Florida State.
Goldman was a two-year starter for the Seminoles and earned first-team All-ACC and All-American honors as a junior. Still, many considered him raw and one-dimensional. Yet the Bears saw his potential and felt he was worth the risk.
At 331 pounds, Goldman has a thick, heavy frame that makes him very difficult to move at the point of attack. As a result, he quickly became an integral part of Chicago's run defense as a 12-game starter at nose tackle. He finished with 22 total tackles and led all Bears defensive linemen with 21 run stops, per Pro Football Focus.
Yet Goldman was more than just a one-trick pony, as many projected in the 2015 NFL Draft. Instead, he showed value as a pass rusher, collapsing the pocket in the face of opposing quarterbacks on a fairly consistent basis. For his efforts, he racked up 4.5 sacks, which was fourth most on the team.
For a player of his size, you can't ask for much more on passing downs. The highlight of his rookie year came during his 3-tackle, 2.0-sack performance in Week 13 against the San Francisco 49ers.
Goldman was placed on IR for the final week of the season following an ankle injury but he'll be fine heading into his sophomore campaign. That's good news for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who will be relying on Goldman to again anchor the 3-4 front seven, eating space and occupying blockers, while making plays on passing downs as well.
Folks have annointed Pernell McPhee as Chicago's defensive MVP last year but for my money, Goldman had a similar impact and was far more consistent.
At just 22 years old, Goldman is nowhere near a finished product. If he continues to develop, he could eventually have a Vince-Wilfork-type impact for the Monsters of the Midway in the near future.
No player on Chicago's defense has a ceiling as high as Goldman, who will be a centerpiece for the Bears for many years to come.null