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NFL Draft 2013: Zaviar Gooden scouting report

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Dak Dillon-US PRESSWIRE

I've been pretty vocal about my supporting the Seahawks giving Zaviar Gooden a strong look in the middle rounds.

He's an ideal fit. A converted safety with sub-4.5 speed who flies to the football, exhibits good instincts in coverage, and can rotate into the box against the run.

At 6'2, 233lbs, he carries a long, light frame but doesn't shy away from contact, and plays with a physical nature that you'd expect out of a linebacker on this Seattle defense. And just to reiterate, the guy is blazing fast.

Here's the geeky version of what I see in Gooden:

Zaviar Gooden
OLB
Missouri
#25
0602 233 4.49
Pflugerville, Texas
Pflugerville High School

Positives: At 6'2, and 233lbs, Gooden possesses a lean, athletic-looking frame and ideal build to play the weakside at the next level. Extremely explosive in a straight line, exhibiting a strong initial burst and elite vertical speed for the position. Has displayed an improved willingness recently to get physical at the line and persist through contact.

Quick to close on his gap against the run and displays adequate flexibility to establish low leverage on contact when engaging blockers. When active with his hands, exhibits quickness and pop to routinely disengage. Fluid drop in coverage and quick hips to turn and run with the tight end or slot receiver vertically.

Negatives: In coverage, he's still a bit raw, at times flipping his hips in the wrong direction while anticipating routes. First step isn't as explosive coming out of a hip flip/transition. Is late to diagnose the run at times. Will take shallow angles on runs to the outside, and will often find himself forced to chase the play down from behind as a result. Leads with his shoulder and drops his head at times when engaging bigger blockers, and doesn't get his arms extended consistently.

Exhibits only marginal lateral fluidity and does struggle at times to break down and make tackles in space. Is better in man-coverage than zone right now, as he tends to lock onto the backfield and lose track of receivers in the area.

Compares to: Zach Brown, OLB, Tennessee Titans - Like Brown, Gooden possesses rare speed and explosiveness for his size, but is still learning to utilize it properly on the football field. Gooden does appear further along in the instincts department however, and is a more consistent tackler than Brown was at North Carolina. Thus, I could see him having similar, if not better first-year success than Brown, after being picked up somewhere between rounds 2 and 4.

Seattle Fit: See intro paragraph.

You can find more of Derek's analysis at his Seahawks-centric draft, free agency, & pro player personnel site called "ScoutTheSeahawks." Head over and bookmark it - he maintains a really great free agent tracker in addition to his Draft focus that is much more in-depth than most places because of his background doing deep scouting of NFL Draft prospects.