Allow me to start by saying this: I typically don’t like player comparisons. I feel far too many can be lazy lines to draw and the circumstances for each player rarely allow for a clear parallel to be drawn. But in some of my recent conversations with former NFL scout/ESPN analyst Gary Horton, I’ve come to understand their significance and importance for NFL personnel (and the casual fan).
For myself, when comparisons have come, they come quickly and easily. A flash play and my mind will make the connection. A few from this past year would include Trubisky/Derek Carr, Watson/Mariota and Switzer/Jarvis Landry. Not all comparisons are created equal. Some look at what a player’s ceiling can be. Others can look at where and how a player won previously. Or what their strengths are as prospects.
Which brings me to South Dakota State Tight End Dallas Goedert. The 2016 standout steamrolled every opponent in his path during the season last year. Yet it took a trip to the 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl to put him on my radar.
“Hey, have you guys seen Dallas Goedert yet?”
I had just finished meeting up with Joe Marino and several other colleagues at the credential pickup point when we ran into Pro Football Focus college analyst Jordan Plotcher. Jordan is someone who has always been extremely friendly, outgoing and helpful to me in my efforts in the scouting world; I consider him a friend. When I run into him, I do my best to make sure I listen. He does excellent work and has a good eye for the game.
We were all expressing our interests in players set to perform at the event in January when Jordan simply couldn’t hold back any more. “He’s my guy. You’ve got to see this kid!” he would gush as he pulled out his phone to show us some film clips of Goedert putting kids on posters with contested catches. Jordan would proceed to heap praise Goedert’s way, enough so that my interest was piqued.
The production from 2016 was excellent: 92 receptions for just short of 1300 yards and 11 touchdowns. The build was there as well. And it was apparent in just that short sampling that he had excellent ball skills, putting his two-sport background to good use.
But the 2017 NFL Draft didn’t have a pause button, unfortunately. I would have to circle back to Goedert some other time, as I had just under 200 player evaluations to finish when I arrived in Mobile this past yearyear.
Today was finally the day. In working through 2018 seniors, Goedert’s name was finally up in the queue and I pulled him up this morning to get started. It took about ten minutes before the thought settled in.
Oh man…this was worth the wait!
Here’s a play similar to the one in question:
An amazing reception that’s all the more amazing when you consider he does this on average of once every other game! In addition to the four contests I watched from start to finish (TCU, Southern Illinois, North Dakota State and Villanova), I did turn to the highlight reel to really get a feel of where he was at his best.
My conclusion? He’s best in nearly every situation as a receiver. Contested catch situations, red zone targets in tight space, working the short areas as a screen or bubble receiver and working for yards after the catch or attacking vertically up the seam. Goedert does it all and does it at a high level.
It was viewing him as a run after catch receiver and as a vertical threat that gave me visions of Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce. Both are uber athletes who can draw on basketball during their high school days before settling on football to play with excellent high point ability and reception skills. Both also have great acceleration and burst off of the line of scrimmage, quickly uncovering on the second level between the linebackers and safety. Watching Goedert rumble through the open field was as close of a 1:1 ratio as I can draw to a NFL player this summer.
Allow me to pause. If you’re having a hard time getting on board with me comparing a FCS Tight End to a 2016 NFL All-Pro, I understand your hesitancy. But check out my argument against level of competition (to a certain degree) from back in April when discussing Youngstown State DE Derek Rivers before you write it off completely.
Goedert’s skills have a great chance to transcend the teams he plays, he checks the boxes you expect to see for a small school player. My comparison to Kelce is one that looks specifically at Goedert’s ceiling and upside as a NFL player. He wins in similar ways as Kelce at the college level. And we just saw a small school Tight End in Adam Shaheen go in the top 50; with Goedert being a much more dynamic athlete and receiver entering his final year of eligibility.
Look for more of this in 2017 (H/T to NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein):
South Dakota State TE Dallas Goedert is stylin' and profilin' …. WHOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! pic.twitter.com/p7UrQ2S3sw
— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) June 26, 2017
When we get it and Goedert (health willing) takes the Senior Bowl by storm, know that the excitement is warranted. And I’ll be sure to thank Jordan Plotcher for the 12 month notice.