Per numerous sources, including the team itself, the Detroit Lions have signed free agent linebacker Zaviar Gooden.
Gooden was cut by the Tennessee Titans. He was a third-round pick by Tennessee back in 2013 out of Missouri.
I went back into my notebooks for a scouting report. It turns out I did not write a formal scouting report, but I did find several notes on him. Most are from the Senior Bowl, where I saw him in person.
The abridged version:
- Really fast in a straight line
- Gets off the ground quickly and can regroup on the fly
- Has a complete lack of functional power
- Doesn’t feel blocks and cannot get off them
The most notable incident came in a pass rush drill. Gooden, who measured at just under 6’2” and 234 pounds, was squared off against 5’5” Fresno State RB Robbie Rouse. And Rouse “stoned him, Gooden never used his hands to try and get around him”.
I did find one mock draft* where I mentioned Gooden as a fifth-round pick for the Lions, noting “he’ll remind everyone of Justin Durant, except less physical”.
That evaluation bore out for Gooden in Tennessee. Here are a couple of quick Twitter reactions from Titans folks…
For another scouting view of him, here’s Bleacher Report’s assessment back in the predraft process.
He’s worth a shot simply because the league is increasingly infatuated with speedy LBs who have more than rudimentary coverage skills. Even in the three years since Gooden was drafted, the NFL has trended in his direction.
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I expect he’ll get a long look in camp to try and earn one of the backup LB roles. The depth chart behind DeAndre Levy and Tahir Whitehead is completely up for grabs, and yes that includes Kyle Van Noy not having any roster certainty.
I don’t expect much from Zaviar Gooden but he’s worthy of a low-cost extended tryout with the Detroit Lions.
*Note: my online archives from Detroit Lions Draft are not accessible but I have the Word backups