BBD Assistant Editor: Ryan Talbot
Put the ball in Marquise Goodwin’s hands and big things can happen. The speedy wide receiver only made receptions in seven Buffalo Bills games as a rookie, but five of those games included a receiving play of more than 20 yards. There are certainly a few defensive backs that tried to cover Goodwin in 2013 who would attest that speed kills.
Making the Team
Buffalo drafted Goodwin in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft (No. 78 overall) out of Texas. In four seasons, Goodwin played 50 games and finished his collegiate career with 120 receptions for 1,364 yards and seven touchdowns. That stat line leaves much to be desired over a four-year span, but the Longhorns never utilized Goodwin properly. Even without proper utilization, Goodwin proved he could be a weapon in an offense.
After catching just one pass for no yards and then injuring his hand in his debut game against the New England Patriots, he missed the next four games of his rookie season. In the final 11 games of the year, Goodwin had 16 receptions for 283 yards and three touchdowns.
His three best performances of the season came against the Cincinnati Bengals (Week 6), Kansas City Chiefs (Week 9) and New York Jets (Week 11).
With 1:16 left in the game against the Bengals, Goodwin caught a 40-yard, game-tying touchdown pass from Thad Lewis.
Goodwin’s first career touchdown sent the game to overtime where the Bills lost 27-24.
In Week 9, Goodwin got the Bills on the board against the then-undefeated Chiefs. Goodwin caught a 59-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Tuel in the quarterback’s first career start.
While Buffalo started strong, they fell 23-13. Goodwin finished with two catches for 64 yards.
His best game of the season came in the Bills’ runaway, 37-14 victory against the New York Jets. He finished the game with six receptions and 81 yards, both season highs, and also carried the ball once for 17 yards. His signature play in that game was a 43-yard touchdown reception from EJ Manuel. Even though Antonio Cromartie was playing for the deep pass on the play, Goodwin blew past him.
Besides his role at wide receiver, Goodwin was also one of Buffalo’s kickoff returners. In 12 games, Goodwin had 16 returns that went for 351 yards (21.9 yard average). Eleven of Goodwin’s 16 returns went for more than 20 yards, but he never broke off a big return in the regular season.
Buffalo made additions to their wide receiver corps this offseason by drafting Sammy Watkins and trading for veteran Mike Williams, while Robert Woods is slated to start in the slot. That leaves Goodwin as the team’s fourth wide receiver at best.
Even though the team has plenty of talent in front of him, Buffalo should look to use Goodwin as a weapon in 2014. His big plays in 2013 came on go routes, but the Bills should also look to get him the ball on screen passes and running plays.
Buffalo would also be wise to continue using Goodwin as the team’s kick returner. His speed and agility makes him a home run threat every time he gets the opportunity to return the ball. In a game where starting field position is crucial, Goodwin makes the most sense as a kick return option among the players on Buffalo’s roster.
In open space, Goodwin can be very dangerous. To take advantage of that, the Bills need to get him more touches than the 20 he had on offense and the 16 he had as a returner last season.
Look for Goodwin’s role to grow in 2014. A player as explosive as Goodwin needs to be on the field as much as possible.
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