Marquise Goodwin is a fast man. Though he is diminutive in stature (5’9″ / 179 pounds) compared to some of the other Buffalo Bills wideouts, he may in fact be faster than everyone else on the roster. What’s been impressive though is Goodwin’s evolution as a receiver the past four games since his return from a wrist injury.
It’s fascinating this is Goodwin’s first year playing football year round. While in high school and in college at Texas, Goodwin competed in the 60, 100 and 200 meter sprints and specialized in the long jump and even earned a place on the US Olympic squad for the 2012 London Games. This fact was not overlooked by the Bills, who took him in the fourth round of the 2013 draft.
The Bills weren’t the first to see this vision of Goodwin the football player. The Texas Longhorns hoped to utilize Goodwin in the same outside burner role, but the ineffectiveness of their quarterbacks along with Goodwin’s dual athletic commitment kept him from expanding his technique and receiving abilities and thus his production on the field.
Within the last four games, and mind you they were all without starter EJ Manuel, Goodwin has amassed 171 yards with two touchdowns on seven catches. He isn’t leading the team in catches, but he is leading them in yards per reception at 24.42 over these past four games.
As Manuel returns to the lineup and gets more accustomed to the speed Goodwin and former Olympic hopeful TJ Graham provide on the outside, we could see a downfield passing attack that would rival any the Bills have ever fielded.
Goodwin needs to continue his improvement in route running, beside the go route, to take his game to the next level. As his hands become surer this deep threat will provide quite a cushion for Stevie Johnson underneath and less eight man boxes for CJ Spiller & Fred Jackson to run through.
Speed kills and this current Bills roster carries more of it than since the Andre Reed heydays. Goodwin’s development is a key component of making this offense the best it can be as he forms into a fully rounded football player.