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Scouting The Draft: Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame

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I know most of you knew that this was the guy that I wanted to win, as a Notre Dame fan, I have had the privileged of watching him develop over the last few years, and while I have been campaigning for the selection of Jared Odrick over the last couple of weeks, I wouldn't be disappointed if we decided to go with one of my favourite players to ever play his football at Notre Dame. As such I will try and be as objective as possible with the evaluation, but it might not sound that way at times, however the bottom line is that this is one hell of a player.

He does have a few areas that he will need to improve on in the NFL like all players do, but his positives outweigh his negatives by quite a margin.

Mel Kiper is the only draft 'expert' that I 'really' listen to, will take in what McShay has to say and others, but Kiper's work is the holy grail when it comes to draft analyse in my opinion. I can't say that I was surprised when his mock draft had the Jets selecting Golden Tate (In fact it was refreshing to see us taking a wide receiver not named Williams):

New York JetsRecord: 9-7
Golden Tate*, WR, Notre DameThe Jets must give Mark Sanchez some weapons in the passing game, and while Tate has question marks on his ability to separate, he is more physical than many think and has always been a playmaker. In the mold of Laveranues Coles.

Tate ran for 1,027 yards on 137 carries (7.5 yards/carry) out of the running back position for his John Paul II High School team before committing to the Irish and being turned into a full time wide receiver. Coming in there were a lot of expectations placed on the young mans shoulders, and concerns about the transition from running back to wide receiver. However those concerns were put to bed when he highlighted just how dangerous he could be when he got the ball in his hands, think a kind of DeSean Jackson.

DeSean was faster running a 4.35 dash, expect Golden to be around the 4.40-4.45 mark, however Golden is bigger, but once the ball is in their hands they are very hard to bring down. DeSean is coming off a great season, 1,156 yards, 18.6 average, 9 TD's. If I had to warrant a guess, I would say that those are the kind of numbers that Golden can put up as a receiver, as well as helping in the return game.

Career State

2007- 12 games played, 6 receptions, 131 yards, 21.8 yards per catch, 1 TD

2008- 13 games played, 58 receptions, 1,080 yards, 18.6 yards per catch, 10 TD's

2009- 12 games played, 93 receptions, 1,496 yards, 16.1 yards per catch, 15 TD's **

** Notre Dame Record for most receptions in a season, and most receiving yards in a season.

Career Awards & Highlights

More after the jump:

So what does Golden Tate Do Well?

Golden gives you a lot of options, he can be used in the return game, split out, or in the slot, you can place him in the backfield, and bring him on an end around. His history as a running back has taught him to secure the ball, avoid contact and keep the legs churning for extra yards. He also has excellent open field moves, Charlie Weis did an excellent job in 2009 of getting the ball in his hands and letting him do the rest. The easiest way to stop Golden is to not let him get that ball in his possession, as when he does, you will have a hard time bringing him down without him getting 10 yards. He has excellent football instincts, he reads the game as well as any receiver in the class, if the scripted route is not there, he continues his path back to the Quarterback giving a scrambling Clausen opportunity to make a play. 9/10 any ball thrown his way he will catch, he does drop the odd one of two, but you won't find many receivers who don't drop a ball at all. Some of them are easy and may remind you of Braylon, but his hands are not in question here. The ball sticks like glue and he catches the ball out in front of him, and keeps it away from contact immediately following the catch. Can readjust his body to make plays on under thrown balls or balls thrown too high or behind him. Has the speed to get behind the defence, and is a big play threat on every single down. Has a very strong lower body, and uses this strength to get extra yards, can shake away leg tackles, and uses several moves to make defences miss, especially the high step. Has good leaping ability and will go up and make plays even in double or even triple coverage (see Washington State highlight below).

Big game player, in his Hawaii Bowl appearance in 2008, he had 6 catches for 177 yards and 3 touchdowns, plays with heart, intelligence and vision.

In just three years as a receiver, has shown constant improvement in his game, and has a high ceiling at the next level, his route running has improved immensely since 2007, and he turned himself into an elite player at a new position in three years.

What does Golden Tate need to work on or improve?

This is really not something he can work or improve, but he stands at just 5'11, and some people still hold that against receivers. However his leaping ability makes up for what he lacks in height. Although he has improved his route running, it still needs to get better, making sharper cuts. Needs to player lower to get that initial burst off the line. He has good speed but not elite speed. Although he will give it everything he has, he needs to work on his blocking skills for the next level. He also can't drop some wide open passes, it doesn't happen very often, where as it's 50-50 if Braylon will catch a ball, it's 85-15 for Golden on those long bombs. Has had some problems playing against press coverage, although not enough to worry you too much. In general it seems wide receivers are very risky first round selections

Final Thoughts

Golden is too intelligent, has too much vision and just too good in general not to succeed at the next level. He has great ability with the ball in his hand, and has everything you want from a play-maker. Don't think he will be a #1 at the next level, but he will be a great #2/slot receiver. In terms of whether I think the Jets should select him, I would be delighted with him. Part of that is because he played for my college team, but the other part is because I think he has a great career ahead of him, and he is the kind of player that could advance Sanchez next year. Some may say that Brad Smith does the same, but Smith has not developed into the receiver, it's always harder to cover someone who can do 5 different things. Golden is that man, he has the receiving ability to keep defences off balance. If you could imagine being a defensive coordinator in the NFL, how would you devise a game plan to stop Cotchery/Edwards/Golden/Keller with Washington in the back field? it would be a nightmare, the options on offence would be unbelievable.

Video Highlights

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, 2008. Golden Tate show starts at 1:25 into the video

Catch against Washington State, Triple Coverage

Golden Tate Highlight package


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Scouting The Draft, Damian WIlliams. WR, USC

Scouting The Draft, Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State

Prospect Watch, Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida

Prospect Watch, Arthur Jones, DE, Syracuse