I just did all of his 2012 Coaches Tape and he is definitely one of the NFL's better kept secrets. The Raiders are a little bit stuck with Darren McFadden right now and Goodson could look for an opportunity to genuinely go and compete to be "the man". In Miami, he could do that, because in the end Lamar Miller is just a 4th round pick that had a tough time getting onto the field as a rookie because he couldn't remember his assignments. Goodson not only played in Mike Sherman's offense in 2008, but he just came from Oakland's WCO last year where he excelled.

There's a myth making the rounds that Mike Goodson hates Mike Sherman and vice versa, and so they would never re-unite. A quick google search would drag up some quotes related to Mike Sherman's final end-of-season press conference in 2008. There's a suggestion that there could be bad blood between Goodson and Sherman. Prior to 2008, Mike Sherman had every intention to build the whole offense around Mike Goodson whose tape in college was ridiculous and who was regarded as a potential Heisman hopeful. The question came up why Goodson wasn't more featured in the offense. Sherman didn't seem anxious to discuss it and chalked it up to "a combination of things" and also noted that Goodson is very likely to depart early from the team for the NFL.

Most people took this as a sign that the two hated one another. But I saw these quotes and personally didn't see that. I thought Sherman's quotes could have been alluding to a number of factors that constituted the "combination of things" that saw Goodson underperforming and then coming out early for the Draft. It could've been anything, from injuries that weren't widely discussed to family or financial issues, etc.

So I did some more thorough digging. I don't think it's true at all that Sherman and Goodson dislike one another. This article sheds some more light on the subject. Some interesting quotes:

Last season, in which he was slowed for a while with a sore knee, he managed only 406 yards rushing under new coach Mike Sherman.

"With a guy like Mike, we ought to be better," Sherman said midway through last season.

Goodson said he's not sure why he struggled, but acknowledged he didn't click with Sherman, the former Green Bay Packers coach.

"But I think when you say that it comes across that Sherman is a bad guy. He's not that at all. He's a great guy," Goodson said. "I think that I didn't have enough time with him. I was there for one year and I was out. I think if we had a little more time it would have worked out better."

There wouldn't be a second year together. Facing family financial problems his father, Mike Sr., is in prison after a mortgage fraud conviction Goodson decided to turn pro despite his sliding draft stock.
These are the "combination of things" that Mike Sherman alluded to in his end of season press conference. There was an injury, a little bit of the two not quite getting a good feel for one another, and then Goodson had a family/financial situation that demanded he leave for the NFL early. That's pretty much it.

Mike Goodson did not have to say ONE word of praise for Mike Sherman, if he didn't want to. Nobody was forcing his hand, there. But he did have nice things to say, and he made it a point to say them. He called Sherman a "great guy" and said that if they'd had that extra year together (which they couldn't get because of family/financial situations) they'd have gotten their chemistry a lot better. He didn't have to say that. He could've left it blank. He could've said, "what's in the past is in the past," and just left it at that.

I personally think, judging from what I know about Mike Sherman, that there's even a strong possibility that Sherman helped Mike Goodson get into the NFL with strong recommendations.

What I think you should pay attention to is the fact that Mike Sherman knows just how talented Mike Goodson is. He fully intended to build his entire Texas A&M offense around the guy in 2008. And as he said at mid season, he considered Mike Goodson the asset they have that should be making them a lot better than they are.

Since entering the NFL in 2009, Goodson has faced a little bit of a stacked deck. He goes to the Carolina Panthers where they've got not one but TWO first round picks at tailback. But by 2010, he worked his way up and due to a combination of injuries and just really good play, he took more snaps than either Jonathan Stewart or DeAngelo Williams that year. On a terrible offense directed by Jimmy Clausen and Matt Moore, he had 103 runs for 439 yards, including 18 missed tackles he created and 288 yards after contact. He also had 40 catches (on 51 targets) for 310 yards including another 10 missed tackles created.

In 2011, he landed in Ron Rivera's doghouse for "fumbling" issues which is at least a little bit baffling because I can't find that he fumbled the football during a game that year. He never had a carry. He caught 1 ball and had 11 kickoff returns. The thing to note though is DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were healthy and doing really well, and now they had Cam Newton taking a ton of carries as well. Josh Vaughn and Mike Goodson were the other two tailbacks on roster, and the two combined for only 15 snaps all year. Clearly there just wasn't room for a third tailback with Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart carrying the ball. Goodson ended up injuring a hamstring in November and being placed on injured reserve.

So in 2012 the Carolina Panthers traded him to the Oakland Raiders. The Panthers needed help at tackle because Jeff Otah had gone psycho on them and so the Raiders shipped over Bruce Campbell (the super athlete). Goodson really missed an opportunity with the Raiders because Darren McFadden (again) got hurt in Week 9 against the Buccaneers. Goodson replaced him in the game, did really well, but then also got hurt in the same game and didn't come back until Week 15. It was a real shame because after watching the tape there's no doubt in my mind which player was better overall in that offense. That was Mike Goodson. But I think the Raiders felt tremendous pressure to make Darren McFadden work. They still seem to feel that pressure. Arguably, they fired their offensive coordinator because of that pressure.

Mike Goodson ran 35 times in 2012 for 221 yards. He created 8 missed tackles and had 171 yards after contact (an amazing 4.9 yard average). He caught 16 balls (on 16 targets) for 195 yards with 1 TD. He created 5 more missed tackles on catches. You may remember him from the Dolphins-Raiders game. He is the one that blazed that 60+ yard catch for a touchdown on a screen pass. Once the guard managed to trip up Koa Misi, Goodson was gone. He stretched every angle a Miami defender had until the defense broke.

The thing people are going to ask me about is his pass protection. Let me tell you, he was easily better than Darren McFadden in pass pro in 2012. I saw pretty much every snap of his in pass pro this year. He started out the year shaky. His very first pass protection snap of the year came against the Miami Dolphins and he got blown up by Kevin Burnett. But what is important to note is that I did not record a single pass pro loss in any of his other 26 snaps there. I realize PFF says he let up a QB pressure against the Buccaneers but I didn't agree with that call of theirs.

What I noticed about his running is that in particular he seemed a natural in the zone cutback game. Sometimes (and by that I mean maybe 2 or 3 of his carries) he gave up on the play side a little too soon or showed a slight bit of hesitation in the hole. But, those instances were few and far between. He was generally very good at hitting the right hole, and getting north-south.

Four things:

1. He just has a knack for making guys miss, which he also showed in 2009 and 2010. On 160 runs in his career he's created 29 missed tackles, and on 59 catches he created 15 more misses. Adrian Peterson made a guy miss this year (his damn near record breaking year) every 5.4 touches. Well, in his career Mike Goodson has made a guy miss ever 5.0 touches. Obviously I'm not saying this guy is Adrian Peterson. Peterson created 3.9 yards after contact per carry this year, Goodson's career average is 3.2 yards after contact. But the ability to make guys miss and fall off the tackle is a big part of Mike Goodson's game.

2. What I particularly like in him is the growth factor. There's every suggestion (based on the numbers) that Goodson was not a good pass protector in 2010 when he got a lot of playing time in Carolina. He had a pretty strongly negative PFF grade in pass pro, with 3 sacks given up, 1 hit and 2 pressures on 65 pass pro snaps. But what I like is that when you fast forward to 2012, I thought he did marvelously in pass pro. There's also been a suggestion that fumbling was an issue in the past. He had 1 fumble on 42 touches (including kick returns) in his rookie year...but had 6 fumbles on 191 touches in 2010. The reason he supposedly got in the doghouse with Ron Rivera was fumbling, though he didn't fumble a single time in 2011 on 12 touches. Fast forward to 2012...no fumbles. Not one fumble on 67 more touches. The third area where I've seen growth is his handling of contact. As I said, he had 171 yards rushing in 2012 after contact, which averages out to an amazing 4.9 yards. In 2010, he averaged about 2.9 yards after contact, much less interesting from that standpoint. I think overall you're looking at a guy that has grown during his time in the league and I think he's probably up to a rocked up 215 lbs. The final area where he's shown improvement is in his hands. In 2010 he actually dropped 7 balls compared with 40 catches and 51 targets. But in 2012 he didn't drop a single ball thrown to him.

3. Speaking of the weight, go back to the measurables coming out of college and they're very strong. He was 5117 and 208 lbs, ran a 4.43 at his pro day (while pulling a hamstring). He ran a 4.46 at the Combine with a 1.49 second 10 yard split (FWIW, I don't have much trust in 10 yard splits due to measurement error sensitivity). He had a 39.5 inch vertical and 9'10" broad jump. His shuttle was 4.22 seconds and his cone was 6.89 seconds. He did 14 bench reps.

4. The range of skills is notable. I think he's now in the 215 lbs range and has shown a nice ability to break tackles physically and create yards after contact (4.9 yards per run, average). He also showed (against Miami, among others) the ability to blast open big plays. He had a 45 yard kickoff return and also a 51 yard kickoff return. He had the 64 yard screen play against Miami, and had another 37 yard catch against Atlanta. He had two separate 43 yard run plays against Atlanta and Kansas City. That's a lot of big 35+ yard plays for a guy that had 67 touches all year. But even if you take out the two big runs he averaged 4.1 yards per carry on his 33 other carries, so he's consistent. He catches the football well and there's plenty of evidence of that. And finally he blocks well. He's very nearly a complete back. The only hole in his game that I can see is in short yardage situations. But that's true of a lot of tailbacks. That's the situation where you should always be looking at bringing in a specialist anyway.

I think there will be a market for him in free agency as several teams have to have noticed him over the years. The Raiders will definitely want to keep him but they're handcuffed because of Darren McFadden. He knows that so long as Darren McFadden is there, he's not going to get many opportunities even to be a 3rd down type of guy because that's supposed to be one of McFadden's strengths.

The Green Bay Packers could make a play for him. That would have to seem a temptation for Mike. They essentially had to roll with DuJuan Harris, a guy that was selling cars not too long ago, all through the playoffs. I'm not saying he didn't do some pretty impressive work. He's a genuine NFL back and I've loved him since he came out, wanted the Dolphins to sign him undrafted real bad. But if they don't re-sign Cedric Benson then they'll be in the market for a guy. But Goodson will have to ask whether they're so desperate for a back that even after they sign him, they're drafting a guy real high...someone like Eddie Lacy or Gio Bernard.

I think his relationship with Mike Sherman and experience in this offense could actually HELP the Dolphins land him, if they wanted to, believe it or not. He clearly harbors no ill will toward Sherman, calling him a "great guy". In Miami, I'm not sure he'd have to compete with a high draft pick. They are allowing Reggie Bush to walk and they have 4th round pick Lamar Miller to try and take his place. Daniel Thomas is a not even an NFL caliber back, so I doubt Goodson will be worried there. He'll at least get to be part of an active two-man rotation. And who is to say that the 5th year veteran can't supplant Lamar Miller as the lead dog in that rotation? I like Lamar Miller, but healthy competition never hurt anyone.

Either way, I doubt Mike Goodson is going to be an expensive get in free agency, yet I'm pretty sure he's going to be worth it IF he stays healthy.