Photo of Zaviar Gooden
Drafted By: Titans
  • Round 3
  • Pick 35
  • Overall 97

Combine Results

Grade
70.0 ?
  • 4.47 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 27 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 34.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 131.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 6.71 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.18 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 11.28 SEC
    Top Performer
Blue Star  =  Combine Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"He's got the speed of a corner. I don't think he has great institcs, but when he sees it, there isn't a faster linebacker. If he learns how to take on a block, he'll be a home run." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'1" Height
  • 32 1/4" Arm Length
  • 234LBS. Weight
  • 10" Hands

Overview

Gooden’s No. 25 jersey has special meaning to the University of Missouri program. It was the number worn by Aaron O’Neal, a redshirt freshman who passed away just a couple of hours after a July 2005 voluntary team workout. Though O’Neal passed before Gooden arrived on campus, he still feels that he represents the late linebacker and his family –- and it shows in his play.



Coming out of high school Pflugerville, Texas, Gooden split time between running back and safety. He redshirted his first season at safety, but moving to linebacker in the summer of 2009. He played in every game that year, making 30 tackles, three for loss. Gooden started all 13 games as a sophomore, earning honorable mention All-Big 12 honors from league coaches after leading the Tigers with 85 tackles (including 7.5 for loss and three sacks), intercepting two passes and breaking up five others. He again lined up for every game in 2011, with a slight reduction in his production keeping him off all-conference teams, but he was still credited with 80 stops, six for loss, one sack, two interceptions, and four pass break-ups. A hamstring injury in week two vs Georgia hampered him for most of his senior season, causing him to miss two contests. However, the team captain was still productive when he was on the field, totaling 61 tackles, four tackles for loss, and one interception in his seven starts.

Analysis

Strengths

Speedy Will linebacker who attacks quickly when he gets a clear picture, closing in a hurry to attack plays in the backfield. Follows play action between the tackles then goes to the flat to take away the running back. Fluid hips, and his good change-of-direction ability is also useful over the middle against backs, tight ends, and slot receivers. Clicks-and-closes to make the tackle quickly once the ball is thrown. Takes on blocks from tight ends and fullbacks, stays moving to the ball while engaged and sheds to make the play. Gets under their shoulder to get leverage and contain. Solid wrap-up tackler in the open field, with good length for his size and an aggressive attitude to bring the ball carrier to the ground. Also strong enough to lower his pads and stop the forward momentum of piles. Utilizes his speed to hustle downfield regularly. He’ll contribute heavily on special teams coverage units.

Weaknesses

Possesses only average overall size. Backpedal is really stilted and he bends at the waist to make tackles instead of bending his knees. Primarily reads back flow and can be hesitant or get caught false-stepping when he doesn’t get a clear picture. His aggressiveness can take him out of plays on occasion, as he’ll head into the backfield as running backs run past through the hole. Hasn’t been used as a pass rusher often, and doesn’t win hand battles at the line with linemen and running backs. Not a schematically diverse player, will be limited to just the weakside linebacker spot for 4-3 teams.

NFL Comparison

Justin Durant

Bottom Line

Gooden has the speed to cover a lot of ground at the next level, as well as surprising strength and form tackling to bring down big ball carriers in the open field and handle himself in traffic. Injuries hampered his senior season, but that combination of attributes helped him lead the Tigers in tackles as a junior (85, 7.5 for loss, three sacks) and should allow him to earn a top-100 grade as a potential starter on the weak side of the formation. Even if he doesn’t immediately earn a spot as a starter, he should be a valuable contributor on special teams while being groomed as a linebacker.
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Grade Title Draft (Round) Description
96-100 Future Hall of Famer Top Pick A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
85-95 Immediate Starter 1st An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
70-84 Eventual Starter 2nd-3rd A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
50-69 Draftable Player 4th-7th A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
20-49 Free Agent UDFA A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.

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