Buffalo Bills rookie wide receiver Marquise Goodwin is arguably one of the fastest players in the NFL, and the Texas product’s speed scares defenses, who have to account for his ability to make big plays over the top. Goodwin was a very unpolished receiver coming out of college, and he still has plenty of parts of his game that he needs to work on. But at the same time, I think it’s safe to say that Goodwin has looked more pro-ready than we thought, and his speed alone is something that makes him deserving of a bigger role in the Bills offense.
Goodwin had his best game of the season in Week 11, as he took full advantage of the uptick in snaps due to injuries to top wideouts Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods. He hauled in six receptions and 81 yards for a touchdown against a helpless New York Jets pass defense, which has been incredibly burn prone this season. That game could be a nice springboard for Goodwin in terms of both playing time and performance on the field. As a matter of fact, it looks like Goodwin could have a similarly big game this week against the Atlanta Falcons, provided he receives the targets.
Following a bye week’s worth of rest, both Johnson and Woods should be out there against the Falcons. But Goodwin’s speed and play against the Jets should allow him to receive more playing time, and he could be a deadly weapon against a Falcons secondary that has been awful and inconsistent this season. They are especially burn prone, which is why I hope we see Goodwin involved more often.
Bills rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel has certainly taken notice of Goodwin and sent some praise in his direction, via Bills official site lead journalist Chris Brown, “Marquise is a guy you want to get him the ball, but not just deep routes. He can also run great routes across the middle. He’s a very good, versatile receiver. He just happens to have a lot of speed and people only think you can throw deep balls to him, but he can run great routes across the middle too.”
Those are very interesting and insightful comments from Manuel, because they shed some light on how polished Goodwin is. He’s definitely made strides as a route runner, and I think it’s notable and a great sign that Manuel is praising his route running and versatility, which are two traits that would certainly bode well for Goodwin.