His leap of 38?? inches drew a grasp from spectators at the Mizzou indoor facility, prompting someone to ask Gooden if he's in the wrong sport. Maybe he should be pursuing a basketball career. "No, I gave that up a long time ago," Gooden said, laughing.
Bowden from the Rams' coaching staff ran the linebacker drills for Gooden, drills which emphasized pass drops, moving in space, as well as some tight bag work. By now, every personnel department in the NFL knows how fast Gooden runs when it comes to straightline speed, but how are his instincts? What about his change of direction? "I had fun doing the drills," Gooden said. "I felt like I looked fluid in them."
Before Thursday, Gooden said he met with Rams officials at the Combine and the Senior Bowl. "So I developed a relationship with them," Gooden said. Gooden said he already has workouts scheduled with Carolina, Chicago, and New England; Richardson said Cleveland is coming to Columbia next week to work him out. - Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Gooden was originally recruited as a safety and redshirted in 2008 playing at this position. He made the move to outside linebacker in 2009 and served as a quality backup, registering 30 tackles, including three for loss, while playing in all 13 games.
Gooden impressed in 2010 during his first season as a starter, recording career-highs in tackles (85), tackles for loss (10) and sacks (three). His numbers slipped slightly this past season (80-eight-one) and he hasn't yet shown a knack for consistently making big plays, which is why he isn't more nationally recognized.
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.
WEAKNESSES: 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. 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. 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. He 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 Gooden having similar, if not better first-year success than Brown, after being picked up somewhere between rounds two and four.