Matt Waldman’s RSP shares its pre-NFL Draft scouting report of Tampa Bay wide receiver Chris Godwin, a prospect Waldman labeled the sleeper of this draft class.
Chris Godwin, Penn State (6-1, 209)
Depth of Talent Score: 84.4 = Rotation Starter (on the cusp of immediate starter): Executes at a starter level in a role that plays to the receiver’s strengths.
Godwin is the sleeper of the class who could earn playing time early and out-produce some of the bigger names ahead of him on this list. He has a good athletic profile, comfort with physical play, and solid technique that should only improve with a dedication to his craft.
Godwin routinely earned separation against press corners. He has a strong chop, an effective rip, and he incorporates them well with release footwork to get on top of coverage early.
He recognizes hot route opportunities and was on the same page as his quarterback to change his route based on the pre-snap position of defenders. When his quarterback is forced to scramble, Godwin finds the open zone.
Because he has the speed to win downfield, Godwin successfully baits defenders with the possibility of the deep game and then works back to the ball on intermediate routes. His successful work with these routes also sets up double moves, and Godwin executes realistic stems where he’ll drop his hips, deliver a well-timed head fake, or turn his pads and legs to sell the fake break before working deeper.
Godwin’s quickness and physicality are expressed well in his game. He gets his head around fast on speed breaks but he can also use his arm to brace a defender at the top of a stem to earn separation with the ball in the air. Although his hard breaks aren’t as sharp as his speed turns, Godwin does well to work back to the ball on outs and digs.
Godwin appears supremely comfortable winning the ball in tight coverage. He’ll get his hands into position on underthrown targets, make plays over the back of opponents, or shield defenders as he turns to the ball. Although he doesn’t always extend for the ball as much as I’d like to see, he can highpoint and make full extensions when called upon, including targets thrown behind the breakpoint of his route.
His adjustments at the boundary are compact, controlled, and technically skilled. He drags the back foot well, and when forced to go airborne, he can punch his feet to the ground inside the sideline.
Hard contact or the possibility of it doesn’t faze Godwin. He’ll even bounce off hits and maintain his footing in situations where many prospects would be happy just catching the football. It’s one of the reasons why Godwin transitions well from receiver to runner.
When he gets into the open field, he can sustain separation with his speed. He makes the first man miss in traffic and he’ll drop the pads and split defenders for extra yards, even pulling free of wraps to his lower legs when he earns momentum.
Godwin is one of the best blockers of this wide receiver class. He has a good punch that includes a hip roll into the effort that generates power. The location of his hands and sustained footwork help Godwin hook opponents and turn them from the path of the ball carrier.
While not consistent with his punch with every block, he hits it well when he earns an early position in the flat. He’s conscientious about working downfield to find assignments. If he can keep his feet moving a little more after he delivers his hands and attack the safety earlier on assignments to the inside, he could become a consistently excellent blocker.
Godwin reminds me of Greg Jennings. Goodwin and Jennings share the same 40-yard dash time. Godwin is 2 inches taller, 12 pounds heavier, and has greater acceleration. Jennings had better change of direction. However, both are comparable where it counts most: route running, catching the ball, and physical play.
Pre-NFL Draft Fantasy Advice: I’d be happy with Godwin in the second round in any fantasy draft happening in April. His ADP will likely remain stable after the NFL Draft. You may have to choose between a top tight end and Godwin, but Godwin will be the safer choice even if the tight end has more upside.
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