Tight end and offensive line talent, that’s what the Iowa Hawkeyes produce. The program hasn’t had a running back selected to the NFL since 2009. Yet, Tyler Goodson isn’t your regular Iowa running back prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. As his scouting report reveals, Goodson possesses pro potential as one of the most dynamic RBs in the Big Ten conference.
Tyler Goodson NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Running Back
- School: Iowa
- Current Year: Junior
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 199 pounds
Tyler Goodson Scouting Report
As mentioned in the introduction, Iowa has hardly been a running back factory in recent years. Ladell Betts and Shonn Greene are the only two players drafted at the position since the turn of the millennium. Although they have had multiple first-round offensive line prospects, running backs have failed to emerge behind them.
We can sometimes allow such program-based biases to creep into an evaluation. Writing off players based on a program’s history of failure to produce at a position is a genuine issue. Goodson is a further example of why you should scout the player, not the helmet.
The Iowa RB’s scouting report is rammed with the requisite attributes that you look for in a modern-day NFL running back. He possesses all the showcase tools that excite on a Sunday, such as spin moves, hurdles, stutter steps, and stiff arms. In that respect, Goodson is like a walking, talking highlight reel.
Few running backs in this 2022 NFL Draft class can create as well as the Iowa RB. In addition to the above tools, he displays exceptional cut and juke ability that allows him to easily add yardage in the open field or escape congestion at the line of scrimmage. Goodson also possesses excellent burst while having sufficient long speed to rip off chunk plays. Once he gets to the outside, it’s often game over for the defense.
However, Goodson’s scouting report isn’t all showcase and no substance
Goodson displays impressive patience behind the line of scrimmage as he waits for the heralded Iowa offensive line to open up holes for him to exploit. He shows vision to not only hit those holes but also search out lanes further down the field. The Iowa RB is adept at finding cutback lanes in addition to following behind an oft-deployed fullback.
Goodson is also exceptionally versatile as an NFL Draft prospect. In addition to lining up in the backfield, he’s taken snaps in the slot and out wide as a receiver. Furthermore, he’s impressive at leaking out of the backfield to pose a receiving threat. He displays excellent pass-catching technique, with few drops witnessed in the games studied. As an additional wrinkle, Goodson has also seen snaps as a Wildcat quarterback in high school and at Iowa.
Finally, as the NFL looks for running backs who can stay on the field on all three downs, blocking is fundamental in evaluating the position. While Goodson isn’t the most physical back — something we’ll address shortly — he is highly willing in this regard. He’ll take on defensive linemen much larger than himself without a second thought. The Iowa RB also displays football intelligence in picking up free blitzes.
Areas for improvement
While Goodson’s scouting report ticks a lot of the boxes for an NFL Draft prospect at the position, there are some areas for improvement. Although I believe he should be considered a Day 2 prospect, some limitations could curtail his stock.
Although he is willing as a pass protector, there are some physical issues. At 200 pounds, Goodson’s not small by any stretch of the imagination. However, there were some examples where defensive linemen comfortably overpowered him in protection. From a technical perspective, he’s prone to lead with his elbow rather than face players square on.
These issues extend to his ability to run the ball up the gut. While he displayed some ability to lower his shoulder into contact and grind out yards with his legs, Goodson is too often stymied with only a minimal gain when tasked with running straight into the heart of the offensive line.
This raises issues with contact balance as well. Goodson routinely breaks tackles when he’s in the open field. However, he is prone to go down on first contact if hit around the line of scrimmage.
Tyler Goodson Player Profile
From North Carolina to Suwanee (Georgia) and ultimately to Iowa City, everything about Goodson’s journey to the 2022 NFL Draft has been about achieving football success. The Goodson family arrived in Suwanee when Tyler was in sixth grade, and the NFL Draft was just a tiny dot on a vast football horizon. Despite this, his placing at North Gwinnett High School was designed to maximize his football potential.
In a highly competitive football state like Georgia, it’s hard to get noticed. However, as a freshman at North Gwinnett, Goodson drew attention by rushing for over 1,200 yards. That attention intensified with a 1,437-yard, 25-touchdown junior season that helped lead the school to a 2017 Class 7A State Championship.
As a three-star prospect and the 43rd running back in the nation per 247 Sports, the offers started small for Goodson. Appalachian State was the first FBS program to try and lure the dynamic rusher through its doors. However, as winter turned to spring, Goodson received over 25 offers, including multiple Power Five programs.
Goodson committed to Iowa in June 2018
Although playing high school football in the heartland of SEC recruiting, Goodson found everything he was looking for nearly 800 miles up I-24.
“The main thing for me about Iowa and the recruiting process in general is just, who is being real to me? Who would tell me what it was straight?” Goodson is quoted as saying in an interview with The Daily Iowan.
“When you go to all these places, they show you the glamor of the program, but everyone has that. Iowa was one of the main ones being real with me. It felt like home. It was an easy pick.”
Goodson committed to the Hawkeyes before his senior season, a commitment he held firm on even when Michigan came calling late in the process. A senior season where he rushed for 1,180 yards and another 25 touchdowns earned him the Georgia Player of the Year Award and even more collegiate attention. But, he was set on donning the black and yellow.
Goodson’s career at Iowa
In addition to finding a place that felt like home, Iowa presented another tick in the recruiting box for the young RB.
“I was looking for a place where I would be safe, and I could be myself,” Goodson told Hawk Central. “It was also to find a place I could play early, contribute to a team, and help it win. I felt I could come here and play early. But, I didn’t imagine it would be as much as I did.”
Goodson made his first appearance for the Hawkeyes in a season-opening win over Miami (OH). While he would see carries in his first nine games (including a touchdown against Purdue), his first starting opportunity came against Minnesota. The young RB had come to Iowa wanting to help them win, and he rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown as the Hawkeyes handed the Golden Gophers their first defeat of the season.
The performance propelled Goodson into the starting lineup permanently, scoring a touchdown in each of his next three starts. Furthermore, he rushed for a then career-high 116 yards at Nebraska. The Hawkeyes won every single game he started down the stretch, including a bowl win over USC. He also became the first freshman Iowa RB to lead the team in rushing yards.
Standout sophomore campaign shows NFL Draft potential
Goodson’s impressive freshman campaign paved the way for a standout sophomore season. The Iowa RB racked up 100-plus-rushing-yard performances in half of his games during the shortened 2020 season. He returned to ruin Minnesota once again, breaking off a 72-yard run on his way to 142 rushing yards and 2 TDs.
The Iowa RB earned first-team All-Big Ten recognition for a season that saw him tally 762 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns. Meanwhile, he snagged 15 receptions for 152 yards as he embedded himself as one of the most dynamic threats in the nation. It was not lost on Indiana head coach Tom Allen as he prepared to face Goodson in the 2021 season opener.
“He’s a stud. I’ve watched a lot of film on him. I’ll tell you what; he’s extremely patient as a runner. I love the way he knows how to cut, when to cut. Some guys just know how to be effective, and he’s also efficient as a runner.”
Goodson is one of the top 2022 NFL Draft running back prospects
Despite the preparation, Allen couldn’t stop the Iowa RB from racking up 99 yards and a touchdown on opening day. Now an NFL Draft-eligible junior, Goodson has continued to elevate his reputation this season. Through Week 10 of the college football season, he’s racked up 754 yards, including a career-high 153 yards and 3 TDs against Kent State. Goodson also secured his first receiving TD against Maryland.
With his dynamic ability as a runner and receiver, Goodson should be high on the radar of RB-needy teams in the 2022 NFL Draft. On the first edition of my Top 300 Big Board, I have the Iowa RB as the 78th overall prospect. Furthermore, he should be considered one of the top running backs in the class.
Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report on Tyler Goodson
Positives: Explosive downhill ball carrier with a terrific burst of speed. Displays good vision, effectively follows blocks, and shows quick feet in a small area. Multi-cut ball carrier who easily changes direction without losing momentum. Will pick and choose his spots on the inside.
Displays the speed and quickness necessary to turn the perimeter and can run to daylight. Gets a lot of momentum going up the field and is tough to bring down. Flashed good vision and effectively follows blocks. Helps the quarterback sell ball fakes and picks up blocking assignments.
Negatives: Runs with an upright style. Not a strong back who picks up a lot of yardage off initial contact. Does a lot of running into piles. Does not display soft hands and, despite his receiving numbers, drops a lot of catchable throws.
Analysis: Goodson is a solid athlete who enters the draft with an unpolished game. He is better in a straight line and must improve all the fundamentals of his position.