First off let me say that if this kid pans out, he’s got a badass nickname already waiting to be unleashed from his surname.
Also, while watching Golladay’s film … That Northern Illinois QB is tough as nails and accurate. IDK if he has NFL talent but he could play for me any day.
Anywho, Golladay is being panned by most “draft experts” as a huge reach in the 3rd round, as he would have been available in the 5th or 6th round. Unlike the Teez Tabor pick, I tend to agree, as he has some strong traits, but enough holes that I would have held off until later or selected a superior prospect at this pick.
I do understand the desire to grab a big receiver here though. Too many times last season the Lions would get within the 5 yard line and have to rely on shovel passes, or option routes to get the ball into the end zone, due to no running game, and no big receiver they could lob the ball up to. They tried Ebron in this role, and it was .. “less than successful”.
Lets take a look at Golladay. (Thanks to the folks at NFL Draft Breakdown for the video!)
First the positives. He’s a big, long kid at 6’4 with 36 inch arms and he definitely plays at the 4.5 speed he tested at the combine. He’s plenty fast for his size and he can eat up cushions pretty quickly. His hands seem pretty solid, as I didn’t see him record a drop in the film I watched, although he does not always high point the football, and as a result plays a little bit smaller than his frame. He’s got the ability to pick up some YAC (yards after the catch) as well. He was plenty productive in his collegiate career as well, culminating in back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons to end his career. That’s the type of production you want to see out of kids that are playing in the MAC and trying to translate into the NFL.
Now on the negatives. Well the first one I noticed is that he has a very limited route tree. Pretty much go routes, and hitches, with an occasional dig. I think the reason that was the case, is the few times he did run a more complex route, he got little to no separation from the DBs. He lived on a diet of running by slower MAC corners, and then when they gave him 8-10 yard cushions, he would eat that up with the 5 and 10 yard hitch. I don’t see that translating to the NFL. While he is plenty fast for his size, he’s not a burner, and corners in the NFL will feel comfortable pressing him and running with him. Not expecting him to be a Corey Davis route maven, but seeing some more route versatility would have been nice.
Also I didn’t like how if the ball wasn’t coming his way, or if it was a run play , half of the time he did not put much effort into the play. What’s doubly frustrating, is that when he did block, he actually was fairly decent. I’m sure the Lions will coach him up on running his routes harder, but he does not look to have the mentality of a guy that like to mix it up in the run game. Maybe they will coach that into him as well. IDK.
I also would have liked to see more film of him making plays at the goal line, since I envision that is a big reason the Lions selected him. And it would have been nice to have seen him make more of an impact in their game against Western Michigan. He did have a couple big catches, but he was invisible most of the day against the best team NIU played all season. More troubling is the fact that Western’s corners didn’t seem to have that tough a time of keeping him from getting open.
In closing, I understand why the Lions made this pick, and he has the traits and the collegiate production to make this a good selection. Still I would have preferred Josh Reynolds (TAMU) , Amara Darboh (MICH) or Mack Hollins (UNC) among others. They all had similar or better traits and production, and were vastly better at blocking, route running, catching the ball and ST (special teams) play (especially Hollins, he’s going to be a Pro Bowler on ST if nothing else !) He’s definitely a project and one I’m sure that the Lions scouting department feels good about, but a project nonetheless. I don’t like projects with a premium pick unless you think they have big upside, and even if Golladay pans out I don’t see him as anything more than a solid #2 or #3 receiver.
I give it a D+. Much better players at this pick and if you really wanted him you could have gotten him 2 rounds later.