Entering the 2018 NFL draft one of the most interesting prospects is South Dakota State’s Dallas Goedert. The 6’3 255 pound former unicycler walked on at SDSU until he earned a scholarship with his play on the field. I watched multiple games on Goedert for this write up and will share with my fellow nerds everything I saw with his play both positive and negative. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the film on Goedert yet I would urge you to do so. I’m very self aware that I look in most if not all of my dynasty leagues to have a clear advantage at the TE position almost to a fault at times. I truly subscribe to the strategy that if you have the ability in every rookie draft you should take a flier or late round pick on a TE. We look back to just a year ago where George Kittle was barely acknowledged by dynasty analysts or draft experts and I was able to acquire him in multiple leagues as 5th round picks or later. Kittle responded with one of the best rookie performances for a TE in recent history.
There are many conflicting reports already about the measurables of Goedert hearing everything from 6’5” 260 lbs at South Dakota State to 6’3” 255 lbs most recently. The safest assumption with this article being pre combine is his Senior Bowl measurements which came in at 6’4 ½” 260 lbs. While Goedert doesn’t quite have the size we saw in last years class he certainly doesn’t play like he’s at a disadvantage. In high school Goedert played basketball which is always a positive sign as some of the greatest TEs have also don’t this from Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates to Jimmy Graham. Recruited more for basketball he decided to walk on at South Dakota State to play football because that was his first love. After redshirting his freshman year he went on to play all four years as a TE for the Jack Rabbits not earning a scholarship until his junior year. Goedert work ethic should never come into question being a hometown kid from South Dakota he earned his way onto the football field with his play and proving people wrong along the way. Currently there is no age listed for Goedert anywhere I can find I’m sure with the combine that will be released but my guess is 23 which I know as a dynasty player we factor age in to the scouting process more than we should sometimes but his age even if he was 24 would not concern me. So often we take rookie picks on young TEs that have one to two years max production at a Power 5 school and still wait for a breakout with Dallas we have to realize this guy had to earn his accolades and respect by his play and production. Now while that production may not be against the most elite division one athletes he still has plaid a ton of football as the focus of an offense and still managed to produce at an extremely high level.
Goedert started his college career like any walk on would struggling early to find his way in his first 26 games with 34 total receptions less than 600 yards and 3 touchdowns. Entering his junior season it seemed to click for him as he officially had a breakout totaling a 92/1,293/14.1/11 stat line. Goedert put himself on the radar around the country even being an FCS player with this huge season and followed it up his senior season posting 72/1,111/15.4/7 on his was to his second straight unanimous all american selection.In both his 2016 and 2017 seasons he was nominated for the Walter Payton Award which is awarded to the top player in FCS. After playing his last game for the Jack Rabbits he leaves 3rd in career receptions, 4th in receiving yards, 5th in touchdowns receptions and holds the single season reception record (92) as well as the single game record of four touchdown receptions. All in all in 53 career games in college Goedert had 198 receptions, 2,988 yards a 15.1 YPC average and 21 touchdowns. It’s very rare we have a TE so accomplished, the small school argument is fading fast for pro scouts and dynasty owners alike as we have seen the emergence of guys like Carson Wentz, David Johnson and Cooper Kupp just in the last few years.
So what will you see when you turn on the tape? This is a loaded question and let me try to break down what I think. First it’s worth mentioning how good of an athlete Goedert is that jumps out to you right away when you turn on one of his games. No further evidence is needed about his athleticism or hands after you watch his one handed acrobatic touchdown catch vs Drake in 2017. Goedert really high points the ball well and the way he works over the top of LBs well you can see his background as a basketball player on contested catches. One thing I really liked was how much of a hands catcher he is and his willingness to put the ball away so quickly to avoid getting it knocked out or potentially fumbling. This is a lost art in today’s game and it’s clear he is fundamentally sound in his catching techniques. Critics can point out it’s against low level competition but that simply means nothing you can only play who is in front of you and quite simply the guys that lined up across from Goedert were dominated on a regular basis. Goedert’ highlights range from dragging defenders, juking guys in the open field, powering through defenders and even scoring on one of the craziest things I saw a touchdown on a TE fly sweep from the 20 yard line. Goedert was flexed out wide frequently in his last two season at South Dakota State which is a great sign for his future at the next level. The body control he possesses is simply amazing his ability to adjust to bad QB throws which he dealt with a lot in college and his willingness to lay out for catches is what you like to see as an NFL team and as a dynasty owner heading into your rookie draft.
Goedert has been claimed as the deep sleeper TE of this class that seemingly won’t continue to be the case going forward. It’s very likely if not already he is a more interesting prospect than the other Power 5 TEs in this class. Although he suffered a hamstring injury early in the week at the Senior Bowl he made some eye popping plays in his short time in front of pro scouts. A key takeaway from the Senior Bowl from a off the field perspective is that Goedert had an early meeting with the New Orleans Saints who haven’t had an impactful TE since trading away Jimmy Graham. Graham was another player that Sean Payton fell in love with during the draft process much like he did with 2017 R.O.Y Alvin Kamara. It’s not fair to get this excited way before the draft but given Goedert talent level paired with one of the best offensive minds could be a dream scenario for dynasty owners everywhere. In recent mock drafts I’ve typically seen Goedert mocked as early as the late first round where the Saints pick so this isn’t out of the question. It’s important to know that Goedert along with all Senior Bowl participants met with scouts from all 32 teams as dynasty addicts we just simply can’t help but think of his best fit along with teams that have the glaring need for the position.
Of course with any NFL rookie prospect there is always good and bad while I touched on all good so far there is some takeaways from Goedert’ tape that would raise concerns. As great of an athlete as he is Goedert may struggle to run away from LBs and DBs on the next level he showed the ability to do that in college but the step up of talent from FCS to the NFL is vastly different. His ability to block will be one of the biggest concerns much like rookie RBs the ability to be reliable in pass protection will be the ultimate tell if you can stay on the field for all three downs so TEs will need to show the willingness to get in there and run block to stay on the field. Goedert’ blocking technique isn’t great but he does get away with it from time to time because of his athleticism. He can miss blocks in space at the next level occasionally but he is willing to block and get in there drive his legs and has put a few defenders on their back on run plays. He’s never going to be an impactful run blocker but he certainly will put in the effort to that part of his game to stay on the field during early downs. The passing game is where Dallas Goedert really shines this isn’t breaking news to anyone he has a few flaws here but things I will mention just to be fair. When running routes he tends to round them off a little too frequently at the NFL level that’s very easy to pick up on as a defender and with that he can be lazy in his route setups or ability to sell a route to a defender. One thing you see all the greats do is be able to sell a route with either your eyes or your head to create space that just frankly isn’t there for TEs usually in the middle of the field he doesn’t do this consistently which may affect him early in his career. Piggybacking off that point is that Goedert isn’t the cleanest route runner and tends to give things away to the defender in college he was the focus of the offense so he saw majority of the targets in the NFL his opportunities may be more limited so making the most of those is very important. Now these aren’t massive issues and with NFL level coaching it’s more than likely to believe those issues can be resolved rather quickly. The talent he possesses can’t be coached the fundamentals of the game and playing the position at the highest level certainly can be.
One thing many scouts like to do is throw around player comparisons who this player reminds you of. Here’s the thing with that no matter what position we are talking about everyone has a fault of comparing that player to one of the greats and as fans or writers we tend to latch onto that or vehemently disagree. Goedert’ comps range from Jason Witten and Zach Ertz to Travis Kelce and although all have different games one thing they do all have in common is they are combo TEs. Goedert is smaller than all of the above listed and doesn’t have the reputation as a blocker of Witten or Kelce which isn’t a bad thing necessarily considering Witten has been the best blocking TE in football for a decade at least. The similarities I see to Kelce are just the way he plays obviously he lacks the size but he has a similar style when catching the ball and how he runs in the open field. Kelce is used in creative ways to get him the football this goes for Goedert as well one of the staple plays at South Dakota State was a TE middle screen which occasionally hit for big yards. The Ertz comp to me is probably the most accurate of the three as their strengths and weaknesses are very similar. Ertz excels at many of the things Dallas does as far as getting open making great catches in the open field and being used out wide to create mismatches. Ertz has also been a below average blocker most of his career but over the past season he has showed his willingness to get in there and make the effort which has turned him into a complete TE which we saw this year in fantasy as he made his case to be mentioned alongside Gronk and Kelce as a tier 1 dynasty TE. At this point in his career I think Goedert is further along as a blocker than Ertz was coming in as a rookie but time will only tell how he does at the next level when the pads are on.
All in all we are looking at one of the most interesting rookies in Dallas Goedert. Like many prospects from small schools I feel the combine will help us in scouting him. I’ve always been a believer that the combine isn’t the be all end all and we shouldn’t put everything into it but we do try to use it as a tool to confirm to us what we already know. I have very little doubt he will test well and show NFL scouts what they already know that he is a great athlete and a guy who can make plays at the next level. This draft class is loaded with depth and upside players pre combine Goedert is one of the safest guys to me in the draft given his position and the value you should get on him in your rookie drafts. This was a lot to take in guys but I hope it can help with your rookie scouting of Goedert as mostly we don’t get to do full breakdowns of FCS players. The combine will have likely aired by the time this comes out so hopefully you guys are if not watching at least reading up on these guys to get an advantage on your league mates. Dynasty leagues are often won in the offseason never get complacent and always look to improve your team the rookie draft is the easiest most cost effective way to do so every year. Keep building those dynasty powerhouses to stack up those championships.