The Tennessee Titans uncovered a gem when they selected linebacker Zaviar Gooden with the 97th overall pick, whom experts believed to have the most potential of any linebacker in the entire 2013 class.
Gooden has great instincts, high football IQ, and speed like a gazelle to run from sideline to sideline. Although he is unlikely to break into the starting line up, he adds much-needed depth to a linebacking corps that struggled staying on the field last season.
Gooden will likely see his first action on special teams until he learns the complexities of the defense, which requires the linebackers to think and react instantaneously. Due to Gooden’s 4.4 speed, he will factor into Titans defensive assistant Gregg Williams‘ unique blitz packages that he has used for decades to terrorize opposing quarterbacks.
Although Gooden maybe best utilized as an outside linebacker, he has shown the ability to take on blockers as a middle linebacker in college. He is extremely versatile and would not be a liability in coverage, which makes his future in the Music City look even more promising.
Last season, the backup linebackers were huge liabilities in coverage, frequently out-muscled by tight ends and exposed by slot receivers. Gooden may not be a future perennial Pro Bowler, but his skill set will ensure that there’ll little let down when starters Zach Brown or Akeem Ayers go to the sidelines.
Gooden may have only been the ninth linebacker chosen, but the Titans may have uncovered an invaluable asset that will certainly pay dividends on the field as well as in the community.