Chris Godwin is Penn State’s most highly regarded prospect ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft. The wide receiver saw a solid jump in production from his freshman to sophomore years, and replicated that success as a junior.
He upped his yards per catch slightly and more than doubled his touchdowns in his final collegiate season. Godwin burst onto the national spotlight thanks to an electrifying performance in Penn State’s Rose Bowl loss to USC, and is one of the top-rated receivers in the draft.
Who is Chris Godwin? 5 things to know:
1. He’s probably going to hear his name called Friday night or early on Saturday.
Mock drafts have Godwin going rounds 2-4. That sounds about right for a receiver who ranks somewhere in the top 5 or 10 at his position in most projections. For a player rated as the No. 168 recruit in his class and the No. 25 player at his position as a high schooler, he made a nice jump in three college seasons.
2. He had an incredible performance in Penn State’s Rose Bowl loss.
Godwin already had a solid NFL resumé before bowl season, but he marketed himself to the whole country on a giant stage in Pasadena. His 9-catch, 187-yard performance in the Nittany Lions’ loss to USC put Godwin on the map. He caught 2 touchdowns, including a 72-yard score.
OH. MY. GOD. pic.twitter.com/hxlkJ3NGfW
— Roar Lions Roar (@RLRblog) January 3, 2017
3. Godwin is a durable deep threat.
He started 39 games in three seasons, and while he doesn’t have eye-popping speed, he’s fast enough. Godwin averaged 16.6 yards per catch as a junior, up slightly from 16 his sophomore season. While that 72-yarder against USC might have been fluky, Godwin’s ability isn’t. He doesn’t have great size but can out-jump people. Penn State’s offense was the perfect fit for him — the Nittany Lions were ninth in yards per pass attempt in 2016.
4. Godwin isn’t a giant, but he’s physical.
While his speed doesn’t jump off the tape and never seemed to be his best asset in college, he ran a solid 4.42 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. That helped make him dangerous in the red zone, as he caught 11 touchdowns his senior season.
He’s physical enough to make catches in traffic, and to absorb hits before and after making catches. Here he is doing just that in the Rose Bowl:
This physicality will help the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Godwin at the next level, making it easier for him to contend with bigger defenders.
He’s a good blocker, which could help him become a special teams contributor. He is solid at staying on corners as well as hitting linebackers and linemen on run plays. This can help Godwin see the field as a receiver, but it’ll also help give him a shot on special teams.
5. Godwin had an excellent performance at the NFL Draft Combine.
With top receivers Mike Williams and Corey Davis electing not to participate in the combine, Godwin took full advantage of the extra eyeballs. He earned rave reviews at the March event, finishing in the top five at his position in the 40-yard dash, bench press and 20-yard shuttle. That may have helped him creep closer to the second round in mock drafts.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) March 4, 2017
This was an impressive showing, and it assured scouts and fans that his Rose Bowl performance wasn’t a one-time thing. His 40 time shocked many analysts and might have played a big role in his jumping from No. 14 to No. 5 on CBS Sports’ wide receiver rankings.