In the late second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected former Nebraska Cornhuskers star linebacker Lavonte David, with that selection being a terrific value pick for the team. However, the Bucs didn’t stop there and added another linebacker in West Virginia’s Najee Goode in the fifth round of the draft.
As a senior, Goode had the best year of his career and broke out to become one of the best defensive players in the Big East. He was eighth in the conference with 87 tackles and finished tenth with 14 tackles for loss. He also brought down the quarterback five times, forced a fumble, tipped two passes, picked off a pass, and he recovered a fumble as well.
Najee Goode is 6’0″, 244 pounds and has the versatility to play at any linebacker position in any scheme. He is athletic and has a good build for the position, and Goode is viewed as a player who can have a huge impact on special teams while also being a capable, utility backup in the NFL.
There isn’t anything special about Goode, but he is a solid run defender and makes up for the pass rush ability that is sometimes lacking. The five sacks show that he is capable in that regard, but I don’t think he would fit as a 3-4 OLB.
Other things to like about Goode include good instincts, solid game speed, sound tackling ability, and leaping ability. He isn’t great at anything in particular, and the only things he is clearly poor at are his ability to get off of blocks and his coverage skills.
What I like about Najee Goode, besides his name, is his solid tackling technique that this team was sorely lacking last season. He also has impeccable work ethic, so he’s clearly willing to get better in coverage. One thing about Goode is he struggles while playing in space, which is something he will need to work on as a 4-3 OLB (if he plays outside) on the Bucs.
Goode is not an every down starter, but he looks like a guy who can be a decent backup and solid special teams player. He has some flaws to his game, but he has useful strengths that give him the upside of a two-down LB.
The Bucs mainly needed some more depth at linebacker, especially someone with the ability to play on special teams and make plays against the run. Goode fits that label, and it will be interesting to see how many snaps he gets in a backup role. I would rather play him as a middle linebacker, but the versatility to play on the outside is something that we’ll all gladly take. Want a word to describe Goode? Blue collar worker.
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