The Buccaneers began the final day of the 2012 NFL Draft by doubling up at linebacker with West Virginia's Najee Goode in the fifth round. Tampa Bay drafted Nebraska weakside linebacker Lavonte David in the second round on Friday.
Evidenced by the selections of defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price in 2010 and defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers in 2011, Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik has had a trend of doubling up on positions in the draft. Dominik didn’t disappoint in 2012 by trading up in the second round to draft Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David and then selecting West Virginia Najee Goode in the fifth round with the 140th overall pick.
When asked if Goode knew if he was going to play middle linebacker or outside linebacker in Tampa Bay during a conference call with Bucs beat writers, the fifth-round pick wasn’t sure.
“I played inside and outside throughout my whole career, but going into my senior year that is what I was listed as because I started in the middle,” Goode said. “I played pretty good out there and I moved around wherever my team needed me. But yes, I am versatile I can play either position.
“I have watched the Bucs before just from being down there and playing at Raymond James Stadium against South Florida and seeing those guys play before I imagine they just want a hard-working player and a hard-working athlete and know a great linebacker. I am going to try to do my best and accomplish all those goals. You know, make plays and that’s what I plan on doing.”
Goode started 25 games at West Virginia – 15 at strongside linebacker and five each at middle linebacker and weakside linebacker. While Goode, who stands 6-foot and weighs 244 pounds, wasn’t a headline player at West Virginia like Bruce Irvin or Julian Miller, he did his part to help the Mountaineers defense.
“I noticed when we played Louisville we ran certain deals and they ran the ball away from me,” Goode told the Charleston Daily Mail. “A lot of guys ran away from me, which helped everyone else. If you run away from me, you can’t double-team Bruce. UConn ran away from me and then Bruce had two sacks as soon as he came in the game. Louisville doubled him and ran away from me, but Julian got a lot of pressure.”
Goode is a very athletic, versatile defender that started every game at either middle linebacker or outside linebacker in West Virginia’s 3-3-5 defense, racking up 87 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, five sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one interception. He was named to the All-Big East first team by the conference coaches. Goode finished his West Virginia career with 157 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
“A high motor,” Goode said when asked what his best attributes are. “A high motor, strong, and you know, I play with my speed. I use my speed to my advantage enough. Playing in my college defense at 3-3-5 you know I am used to hitting linemen. So I can bust the best linemen and get up off of them.”
Considered to be a sideline-to-sideline player, Goode has good speed and great short area quickness.
Goode, who played against new Bucs head coach Greg Schiano in the Big East, was limited in the offseason by a torn right pectoral that has now healed. He ran a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash at the combine, but couldn’t bench press until his pro day where he lifted 225 pounds 30 times.
Goode ran an impressive 4.19 in the 20-yard shuttle, a 7.23 in the three-cone drill and had a 9’9” broad jump, which showed off his athleticism. At his pro day, Goode worked out at linebacker and defensive back.
The Buccaneers now have nine linebackers on their 2012 roster in Mason Foster, Quincy Black, Adam Hayward, Dekoda Watson, Jacob Cutrera, Mike Balogun, Rennie Curran, David and Goode.
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