Goddard Provides Plenty of Upside for Colts

It's no fluke that the Colts didn't hesitate to sign converted linebacker Jonathan Goddard to their practice squad back on September 14th....

...The former Marshall University defensive end has succeeded at every level, has proven durable and could help the Colts' offense improve – all the while improving his own game.

He won't be a Dwight Freeney. At 6'0" 238 pounds, he's even too small for that. However, he could eventually be a solid linebacker and special teams player in the NFL.

Goddard led the nation in sacks and tackles for a last season, while placing second in forced fumbles. He was one of the 12 finalists for the Lombardi Award in 2004, compiling 82 tackles, 28.5 tackles for losses, 16 sacks, three fumble recoveries, five forced fumbles and one interception.

He also proved durable in his four years at Marshall, starting 36 games in a row at defensive end.

The problem lies in his size. Even though Goddard has good speed, running a 4.74 forty-yard dash at the NFL Combine, he lacks the height and weight to battle through NFL offensive linemen. Dwight Freeney stacks up like a giant compared to him. And Corey Simon – like the byproduct of Andre the Giant and Refrigerator Perry.

Another problem may be Goddard's discipline. In August, 2004 Goddard got into a bar fight with Ohio State defensive end Redgie Arden, breaking his nose and severely bruising his face. Goddard was then arrested for battery on a police officer when the officer tried to break up the fight.

In Goddard's defense, Arden reportedly hit one of his teammates before the fight broke out. You can look at it two ways – as a sign of loyalty or a sign of plain stupidity. Either way, it would be interesting to know what Arden's former collegiate teammate Mike Doss thinks about Goddard.

Size, discipline -- these reasons may be why Detroit dropped Goddard after drafting him in the sixth-round this year. Whatever the case, the Colts didn't hesitate to pick him up. It took the Colts a mere 10 days to act on him.

Why?

Most likely because he is durable and can flat out play football. But other reasons may point to the bigger picture.

The Colts will see many cover two defenses this season, as opposing defenses are dropping back with their linebackers and forcing action to the middle of the field. This attempts to prevent the big plays that Peyton Manning is known for from happening. The linebackers form a wall in the middle of the field and are responsible for more coverage than usual, while the safeties are the reserve unit and the cornerbacks force action toward the middle of the field.

This typically takes speed at the linebacker position – something Goddard possesses. With his quickness on the practice field, Goddard could help test Manning and the Colts' receivers during the week.

On the flip side, keep in mind, Tony Dungy has made the cover two set famous. Therefore, not only is Goddard making the Colts better offensively, he is also making himself better under a defense he could excel in with the Colts. The deal only makes sense. Goddard is not only practicing to make the Colts better, he is also practicing to make himself better.

Oh, not to mention, he's practicing against the most dangerous offense in the league.

Only time will tell, but Goddard looks like a win, win.

 


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