Former South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert is almost too cautious — perhaps too modest? — about his stature among NFL teams.
His main focus? “Just making sure I make a team,” he says, “stay on the team and make the roster.”
Goedert is expected to do more than that. He should wind up being the first FCS player selected in the three-day 2018 NFL Draft, set for April 26-28 at Jerry Jones World, er, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Ironically, Goedert is named for the Dallas Cowboys because his father was a fan of the team.
There’s reason for the two-time FCS All-American to not get ahead of himself, even though NFL teams are taking interest in him at the Reese’s Senior Bowl this week. Coming from the “school-small” level of Division I, players always feel the burden of having to do more than their FBS counterparts in the draft buildup.
“I just kind of hope to eliminate all the doubt that teams might have with me coming from a smaller college,” said Goedert, who’s wearing his 86 college number for the South team. “They don’t think I played as high a competition and maybe can’t compete with (FBS players), so I just want to kind of prove them wrong and show them that I can compete with whoever’s lined up in front of me.”
Goedert, general projected as a second-round pick, points to some of the players who came out of the Missouri Valley Football Conference in recent years and rank among the best at their positions in the NFL, such as Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.
There’s a lot of reason to believe the 6-foot-4½, 260-pound Goedert will move along the pipeline. He dominated the FCS level, basically a wide receiver in a tight end’s body — proportioned well and fluid for his size with long arms (79 5/8-inch wingspan) and big hands (10 1/8). He was particularly dominant with 92 receptions as a junior and totaled 164 catches for 3,404 yards and 18 touchdowns in his final two seasons.
Writes Joe Everett of NFLDraftBible: “Goedert is an oversized wide receiver that lines up all over the field, he’s a powerful runner with the football in his hands and he has exceptional ball skills. He has the ability to make plays he has no business making.
“He has an excellent catching radius and makes plays on poorly thrown balls that most receivers couldn’t convert. He’s a functional inline blocker as a traditional Y end, but he’s just as effective off set in the backfield.”
That sounds like a prospect who will do more than just make an NFL roster.
— Written by Craig Haley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Haley has covered the FCS level since 1999 and is the national writer for www.fcs.football. He appears frequently on radio shows and podcasts to discuss everything FCS. Follow him on Twitter @CraigHaley.
(Photos courtesy South Dakota State Athletics)