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The offseason loss of Vince Wilfork leaves a huge hole in the Patriots defensive line. At 33, Vince was no longer quite the dominant force he had been before his achilles injury, but his ability to take on two blockers and anchor at the point of attack still played a major role in the Patriots defensive success. Vince's ability to occupy multiple blockers certainly played a role in the breakout seasons of young linebackers Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins, who were largely kept clean and free to run down plays. The Patriots still have decent depth at DT on paper, but too many question marks to feel comfortable going into the season as is at the position.

Enter Florida State's Eddie Goldman. A massive brickhouse of a man with prototypical nose tackle build, Goldman excelled at FSU playing a similar role to Wilfork's as a Patriot. While his six sacks over the past two seasons are a decent total for a nose tackle, Goldman's primary value comes in his ability to clog up rushing lanes. Like Wilfork, Goldman is built to anchor against double teams at the point of attack, and he has the brute size and strength to step in and play that role right away at the next level. A rotation of Goldman, a healthy Dominique Easley, Sealver Siliga and Alan Branch could be very fun to watch.

Measurables:

Ht: 6'4"
Wt: 336
40 time: 5.27
Bench: 19 reps
Vert: 26"
20 yd shuffle: 4.87
3 cone: 7.62

College Statistics:

Graphic via www.sports-reference.com



Professional comparison:

Vince Wilfork. Goldman is a little taller and longer, but there's no denying the similarities between the two players. Watch any one of FSU's games from the past season (many of them are on youtube), keep your eye on big #90, and tell me I'm wrong. His ability to anchor the line could make it a seamless transition from Wilfork, freeing up the Patriots athletic front seven to play the attacking style that fit their skillset so well last season.


Strengths:
  • Prototypical nose tackle frame
  • Powerful, physical run defender
  • Appears capable of squatting a house
  • Ability to occupy/anchor against double teams
  • Developing bull rusher
  • Plays with excellent technique and leverage against run
  • Versatility to play in multiple fronts, positions
  • Intelligent, passionate player (scholar on football history)
  • Positive personality reportedly impressed scouts and coaches in interviews
Cons:
  • Lack of top-flight athleticism/explosiveness
  • Pass rushing upside marginal
  • Tendency to get caught upright as a pass rusher
  • Limited range, won't chase many plays down in pursuit
  • Served a one game suspension in 2013 for an unspecified violation of team rules
Projection: Middle to late first round.

Unfortunately for Goldson, immovable two-gapping run stuffers have been devalued in the modern pass-happy NFL. Goldman unsurprisingly did not impress with his athletic testing numbers, and his lack of pass rushing upside could push him further down some teams draft boards.

At this point, it seems likely that USC's Leonard Williams, Washington's Danny Shelton and Texas' Malcom Brown will be the first three defensive tackles off the board, with Oregon's massive Arik Armstead lurking as a high-upside wild card. Goldman and Oklahoma's Jordan Phillips (who I'll be writing about later this week), appear to be the final two defensive tackles firmly entrenched in the first round range, and it's quite possible one of those two is available with the Patriots slotted pick at 32.

Will the Patriots draft him?

They certainly seem interested. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was amongst the Patriots representation at FSU's Pro Day, and Ian Rappoport has reported that the Patriots will be meeting with Goldman prior to the draft. It's a perfect match of need, value and scheme-fit, and Goldman's on and off the field characteristics scream Patriots. Who can't picture Belichick falling in love with him after the two of them start discussing their mutual interest in football history?

The only problem is that the Pats are far from alone in their interest in Goldman. Rappoport also reported that the Browns, Colts, Lions, Panthers and 49ers will be meeting the FSU junior, all of whom have picks ahead of the Patriots. It's possible that Goldman slides all the way to the Patriots pick, but there's also a very real possibility they'll have to trade up to ensure landing him. With five picks in the first 101 selections, the Pats have the ammo to make such a move if they like the big man enough. Whether they opt to do so will likely depend on how the first round plays out and how much they like the players that will be remaining at 32.

Ned Brady 4/06/2015 03:24:00 PM Edit
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