There’s fast, there’s really fast and then there’s Marquise Goodwin.
Marquise Goodwin is the fastest player in today’s NFL, and he’s probably the fastest player the league has seen since Bob Hayes. Goodwin finished in 10th place at the London Olympics in the long jump and led all rookies at this year’s combine with a 4.27 second 40-yard dash. Goodwin had a 43-yard touchdown this past Sunday against the New York Jets which marked the third time in seven games this season that he has had a touchdown of 40 yards or longer. The Bills’ rookie receiver is a true deep threat — think Mike Wallace in his Pittsburgh Steelers days — who can score from anywhere on the field at any given moment, and he’s now been on the field for at least 30 snaps in each of his last four games, including 60-of-69 snaps this past weekend. Goodwin runs a very basic route tree, but his speed is such a threat that he almost always finds himself open on underneath routes because defenders are so conscious of not getting beat deep. And when he does go deep he’s often so much faster than his defender that it doesn’t matter if they know where he’s going or not.
When Goodwin caught his 43-yard touchdown this past weekend he was lined up on the right side right at the Jets 45-yard line with Antonio Cromartie about three yards off of him in one-on-one man coverage. Cromartie correctly anticipated that Goodwin was running deep and he turned to run down the field a split second before the ball was even snapped. EJ Manuel took a three-step drop and immediately threw the ball deep to Goodwin who caught it at the five-yard line and stepped into the end zone as Cromartie hopelessly dove at his heels. Goodwin was so fast that he basically gave Cromartie a five-yard head start to run 45 yards down the field and by the time Goodwin had made it to the five-yard line he had distanced himself from Cromartie (who ran a 4.47 40-yard dash back at his combine) by about two yards.
Goodwin should receive plenty of playing time as long as Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods are out with injuries, and his speed is such a game changer that he should have a meaningful role in Buffalo’s offense moving forward regardless. I think that Goodwin is a must own in any league that is 14 teams or deeper, and he is also a must own in all keeper/dynasty formats. Savvy owners in 10-12 team leagues may also want to consider rostering Goodwin as the Bills come out of their Week 12 bye; it would not surprise me if Goodwin is a top 30 receiver going forward, and I would rather have him at this point over Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith, Cecil Shorts, Stevie Johnson, Tavon Austin, Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe and Greg Jennings.