As you’ve probably heard by now, the Carolina Panthers selected Georgia wide receiver Terry Godwin in the seventh round (No. 237 overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft. I reached out to our friends at Dawg Sports to get their thoughts on Godwin, and Mr. Sanchez was kind enough to answer my questions. You can find our Q&A session below.
1. What are Godwin’s strengths and weaknesses, and how do you think he could help the Panthers’ offense in 2019?
He’s got great hands, is tough, strong, has good speed, and is a great route runner. He’s not the biggest (around 6-feet tall) and isn’t a burner, so expectations should be set accordingly for a late round pick. But the upside is definitely there for a guy who can work in the slot. With Newton and McCaffery in the backfield, and other threats on the outside, Godwin will be a strong and willing blocker inside for those two on runs, and can do work on underneath routes. It’s not really a glamour role, but with the way NFL offenses run, he can be a very good third/fourth wide receiver hauling in a ton of balls to help move the chains while opening lanes for McCaffery or Newton to break runs on third downs too.
One other aspect, he’s done a lot of special teams work in college too, so he’s also likely going to be able to fill a role on coverage teams, or as a safe hands option (since the speed issue means he’s not gonna be a big play threat there) as a returner.
2. The Panthers drafted him in the seventh round. Do you think they got a good value there, or should he have been a UDFA?
I’m biased to the kid, as both a Georgia fan and having gotten to know him a bit over the last few years thanks to our paths crossing in this town. So I think it’s good value, and probably about where he should have gone. The lack of size, elite speed, and nothing special numbers in college, combined with little injuries in several seasons, means he was never going to be a first or second day guy. But as said above, he’s got a lot of good tools too and is more than capable of filling a role both next year and for the next decade. Plus, Georgia guys have often had success in the league, even the less heralded guys (see David Andrews as an UDFA who has been starting for the Patriots since his rookie year). And with Thomas Davis leaving this offseason, it feels right that the Panthers have a UGA guy on the roster. Since there has yet to be a season in Panther history without one (simply the overlap of careers for Davis and John Kasay, plus several others alongside them).
3. Which parts of his game do you think will best translate to the NFL? Which parts will he need to work on the most?
His physicality probably best translates. He’s not going to be afraid of contact, both giving or receiving. That will help particularly in the way Newton and McCaffery get their yards on the ground. And that will help him in the tight spaces of the NFL passing game too. That and his hands. If he can get a finger on it, there’s a chance he catches it, something else that will help in tight windows you have to squeeze balls through in the NFL.
The areas he probably most needs work on are learning to create space and separation from defenders, particularly the elite coverage men he’ll be across from now. And just getting used to whatever passing trees and routes his teams will be calling on him. He also is going to need to learn roles. He did this well at Georgia, as said, working out wide or in the slot, getting runs on jet plays, I wanna say he had some wildcat and backfield runs too, plus he’s been a return man and cover man on special teams. He’s not gonna be a star, so he’s going to have to carve out his niche on a roster and that is never easy.
4. Do you think he has a good chance to make an NFL roster in 2019? Why or why not?
Yes I do, especially since he was drafted by the Panthers. Again, seventh round pick, the tight squeeze of a 53-man roster to begin with, and all that, so he’s far from a lock. But for a seventh round pick I’d say he’s got a much better than normal chance to make it. The reasons why are spelled out above, in both how well I think he fits this team with his playing style, abilities, and what they’ll want to do offensively, and the weird fact that there has never been a single season in Panthers history without a UGA alum on the roster. That penchant for acquiring good, valuable, impactful players produced in the areas nearby might explain why they’ve been better than Georgia’s local NFL team pretty much since that Panthers history began.
What do you think, Panthers fans? Do you like the Terry Godwin pick? Why or why not?