Eddie Goldman 2016 Breakout Candidate

The Chicago Bears, going into the 2016 Draft, still had some needs to fill. Time will tell how the drafted rookies fit in, but in the meantime, Justin Twell looks at how Eddie Goldman is shaping up as compared to his draft profile.

It is safe to say that when you think of Chicago Bears football, some of the greatest defensive players ever to play the game spring to mind. Dick Butkus. Bill George. Doug Atkins. Mike Singletary. Richard Dent. And more recently, Brian Urlacher.

Fast forward to 2016 and the Bears have a player in nose tackle Eddie Goldman, entering his second year in the NFL, who could well be a defensive star and mainstay for years to come.

Chosen in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft, 39th overall, out of Florida State University, some thought the Bears reached a little for a player who lacked a consistent pass rush and was seen as potentially just a two-down run stuffer.

Looking back on Goldman’s rookie year, though, he showed he can use his excellent strength and power to collapse a pocket and get to the quarterback.

In this example from Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders, we see how he uses that strength and power to push number 76, J’Marcus Webb, back into quarterback David Carr from the 3 technique position. He then uses great timing to shed his block at exactly the right moment to sack Carr for a loss of 15 yards.

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Goldman has shown he can be effective against the run and we see it here in Week 11 against the Green Bay Packers. On this play he is lined up in the 0 technique directly opposite center J.C. Tretter. However, as the play unfolds, the Packers offensive line shifts to its right as the ball is snapped and Goldman is blocked by Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton.

As running back Eddie Lacy receives the toss, Goldman shows his strength by using his right arm to keep Sitton at bay and, as Lacy changes direction toward the middle of the field, Goldman is also able to change direction and make a nice wrap-around tackle on Lacy for a minimal gain.

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Goldman has also shown he can use pass-rush moves to get to the quarterback. Here he is lined up again at the 3 technique against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16.

As the ball is snapped, Goldman rushes inside toward the center position and, as he is blocked by Buccaneers guard Ali Marpet, he uses a swim move to move back outside and past Marpet and ultimately get to Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston.

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Despite playing only 50% of the Bears’ defensive snaps in 2015, there is a lot to like about Goldman heading into 2016. Per Pro Football Focus, Goldman finished 5th amongst rookies in pass rush generation and his overall play steadily improved as the 2015 season progressed.

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As we are about to enter training camp in 2016, Goldman has lost approximately 15 pounds, which should improve his stamina, quickness, and footwork. The Bears clearly want to see Goldman on the field more in 2016 and, with better personnel around him – particularly in the linebacking corps – we can expect to see Goldman improve in all facets of his game.

Follow Justin on Twitter @JustinTwell78. Check out his articles on the Chicago Bears draft fits, training camp battles in Green Bay, being a NFL fan on another continent, and whether Blake Bortles can make the leap this year.

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