Despite a difficult season, Clemson ended the 2021 college football campaign by sweeping the cornerback spots on the All-ACC first-team. One Clemson CB came into the season as a heralded superstar, but Mario Goodrich has climbed into 2022 NFL Draft contention with a standout senior campaign. Don’t be fooled into thinking that Goodrich is a one-hit wonder, as his scouting report reveals a multitude of skills that will transition to the next level.
Mario Goodrich NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Clemson
- Current Year: Senior
- Height: 6’0″
- Weight: 190 pounds
Mario Goodrich Scouting Report
As mentioned in the introduction, Clemson already had a potential cornerback prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft before the season. For me, Andrew Booth Jr. is the best of the best, and it would be a surprise to see him fall outside of the top 10 next April. Nevertheless, Goodrich has also emerged as a contender to continue Clemson’s rich recent history at the position.
Let’s start Goodrich’s scouting report with the one area that stands out immediately on tape. If you’re an NFL team looking to secure a defensive back who excels in run support, the Clemson CB is the man for you. In the games studied, he didn’t have a single missed tackle. He diagnoses the run well, routinely takes good angles, arrives on the scene in a hurry, and showcases excellent tackling form.
Although he isn’t the most powerful player — something we’ll get into later — Goodrich is impressively physical. This is apparent in his run support ability. However, it’s also demonstrated at multiple points in pass coverage.
Goodrich can get in his jabs at the line in press coverage, he’s able to squeeze his man to the sideline, and contests well at the catch point. The Clemson cornerback is incredibly scrappy in how he plays the game.
Impressive run defender who possesses excellent coverage ability
Goodrich showcases a lot of impressive characteristics in coverage. He routinely demonstrates a low stance. The Clemson cornerback has a good backpedal and transitions out of that with impressive fluidity. An impressive athlete with solid change-of-direction ability, he’s able to stick in the hip pocket of his receiver.
He possesses quick feet, allowing him to mirror but also recover well. As a high school athlete, Goodrich recorded a 4.4-second 40-yard dash, and that speed is evident on tape. He’s able to go toe-to-toe downfield with receivers. I would expect him to run in the late 4.4-second range at the NFL Combine.
Goodrich has reportedly measured 31″ arms and a 75 7/8″ wingspan. This length is evident on tape, as he’s able to get his arms to the ball to impact the play in coverage. He also uses his length to feel for his opponent in coverage and to keep himself clean at the line of scrimmage. Additionally, at 6’0″ and 190 pounds, Goodrich has decent size to play the position at the NFL level.
Areas for improvement
Following a successful senior season, Goodrich is rapidly ascending NFL Draft boards. While potentially being considered an early Day 3 prospect, he has the chance to put himself in Day 2 conversation with a strong Senior Bowl showing. His ability to cover efficiently while excelling in run support will prove alluring to NFL teams. Furthermore, his athletic upside is tantalizing. As a team captain, he possesses apparent leadership qualities.
However, there are some areas for improvement amidst his scouting report. While we praised his scrappiness, Goodrich doesn’t always play the position with power or demonstrate difference-making strength. On several plays, both in coverage and against the run, he was easily disrupted by strong contact. In more than one game, Goodrich was visibly shocked backward on contact, and not by a markedly bigger player. He was also unbalanced by contact.
There were some inconsistencies to the Clemson cornerback’s game, as well. At times, he showcases good hand usage to disengage from blockers. However, that is one area that he needs to develop, as far too often he struggled to disengage in a timely manner.
While Goodrich showcases good play recognition, there were several instances in coverage where he lost his man behind him. As a result, he failed to make a play on the ball and gave up yardage that could have been easily avoided. Goodrich needs to ensure he consistently remains aware of the play evolving around him.
Mario Goodrich Player Profile
While he’s been a late arrival to the 2022 NFL Draft scene, Goodrich made an immediate impact at the high school level. In his sophomore season at Lee’s Summit West High School, he earned the reputation as one of the most versatile playmakers in the nation after logging 45 tackles, 8 pass breakups, and 3 interceptions on defense. Additionally, he tallied 112 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns on just 7 receptions.
Goodrich boosted his profile as a junior. While he again caught the eye with 46 tackles (7.5 of which were for loss), 12 pass breakups, and 7 interceptions, he added rushing to his offensive armory. Furthermore, he emerged as a dangerous special-teams weapon returning kickoffs and punts.
Unsurprisingly, Goodrich attracted national attention. A four-star athlete in the 2018 recruiting class, he narrowly missed out on a spot in 247 Sports’ top 100 players.
A talented basketball player too, Goodrich also received collegiate attention on the hardcourt. However, football was his primary interest. He committed to Nebraska before his senior season and closed down his recruiting.
Senior season ends in uncertainty before Clemson commitment
With another exceptional season, Goodrich finished his Lee’s Summit career with 140 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 11 interceptions (5 touchdowns), and 24 pass breakups. On offense, he tallied 641 yards and 9 touchdowns from 38 receptions. Meanwhile, he contributed 721 kickoff return yards and 487 punt yards.
As he was ending his high school career in excellent fashion, Nebraska was failing at the college level. Following a 4-8 season, the Cornhuskers parted ways with coach Mike Riley. The disruption and upheaval unsettled Goodrich, and he rescinded his commitment. A ferocious flurry of top-flight programs battled it out to land his signature — including Georgia, Florida, and LSU — but a trip to the home of Clemson sealed his commitment.
“I like the staff,” Goodrich told 247 Sports. “It’s a stable environment. Everyone is always happy, from the coaches to the players to the regular students. Coach Dabo Swinney is so cool. I could see while I was on my visit the players really love him.”
Goodrich’s career at Clemson
While he had excelled in all aspects of the game at Lee’s Summit, Goodrich had always seen his future at cornerback. But like most freshmen, he saw action on special teams early in his Clemson career, notably forcing a stop on coverage against South Carolina. However, he also made his first career pass breakup against Wake Forest while tallying tackles in College Football Playoff appearances against Notre Dame and Alabama.
Goodrich saw an uptick in snaps in the secondary as a sophomore in 2019, but he didn’t get any starts. Furthermore, the Clemson cornerback only made some meager statistical contributions, registering 13 tackles and 2 pass breakups. Despite this, Goodrich secured his first career interception against Syracuse. Furthermore, his off-field development was evidenced by a spot on the ACC Honor Roll.
Although he missed the first two games of 2020, Goodrich made significant progress as a junior. He started half of his eight games and made impressive contributions in multiple contests. Goodrich was named the ACC Defensive Back of the Week following a performance against Pitt that included 2 interceptions. It was the first time since 2016 that a Clemson player had registered a multi-interception game. He also posted a then-career-high 5 tackles in the ACC Championship revenge win over Notre Dame.
That career-high didn’t last long as Goodrich got off to a hot start in his senior season. Although Clemson lost their season opener against Georgia, their up-and-coming cornerback tallied 12 tackles. Against Syracuse, he tallied 4 pass breakups, the most in one game since 2014 and one shy of a program record that had stood since 1985.
Goodrich ascends NFL Draft boards following stellar senior season
Goodrich also secured an interception against UConn. Yet, the best was still to come. The Clemson CB was named the MVP of the Cheez-It Bowl after securing a pick-six and a forced fumble as the Tigers ended the season on a high. Goodrich ended the year with 42 tackles, 10 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, and an invite to the Senior Bowl. A career that had its ups and downs finished with the highest praise.
“Really proud of Mario Goodrich,” Clemson coach Swinney told the assembled media following the bowl game. “I was talking to the team about Mario a week or so ago, because he didn’t get off to a good start. Like a lot of 18-year-olds, a little immature, not quite as focused, a little distracted. In my office a couple times when he didn’t need to be.
“And now, here he is. First-team All-Conference. 3.46 GPA in the fall. Voted team captain. This is a winner. He’s equipped. He’s a grown man because of what he’s been through and because he hung in there.”
Just last year, Goodrich’s ascension up NFL Draft boards would have been unthinkable. Yet, within the space of an exceptional season, he’s ensured that two Clemson cornerbacks should hear their names called in April. He’ll impress both on and off the field in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, and he has the potential to climb even higher. Goodrich won’t reach the peaks of his more illustrious teammate, but he’s certainly peeking out from his shadow.