Eddie Goldman, Malcom Brown Provide Different Styles on Defensive Line

The Green Bay Packers could be considering the products from Florida State and Texas when they're on the clock late in the first round.

Eddie Goldman by Jeremy Brevard. Malcom Brown by John Rieger, USA TODAY Sports.

Eddie Goldman by Jeremy Brevard. Malcom Brown by John Rieger, USA TODAY Sports.

INDIANAPOLIS—A philosophical shift was made when the Green Bay Packers decided to get smaller and younger on the defensive line in 2014.

The Packers declined to re-sign big-bodied veterans Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly last season, replacing them with free-agent signee Letroy Guion and increasing the role of Mike Daniels. There was a little less two-gapping and a little more penetrating in Titletown.

Another decision will be faced this offseason with Guion and B.J. Raji scheduled to hit the open market in March. It remains to be seen whether they'll sign one or both.

The Packers might have gotten smaller on the defensive line, but it's not as if they don't need necessarily need a big player. A nose tackle will always be needed, and while size isn't a pre-requisite, it's a rarity to find a good one hovering around 300 lbs.

If the Packers decide to address the defensive line in the first round of the upcoming draft, two options they might consider are Florida State's Eddie Goldman and Texas' Malcom Brown, a pair of players with distinct styles.

Of the two, Goldman has a reputation as more of the hole-plugging, run-stuffing type while Brown fits the mold of disrupting, backfield penetrator. That's not to say Goldman can't rush the passer and Brown can't play the run, but their strengths as players are disparate.

“Just tough, hard-nosed," said Goldman, describing his playing style. "I can give you a little finesse now and again. But for the main part, I’m a tough, hard-nosed type of guy.”

It wasn't until Goldman's junior season in 2014 that he emerged, having to bide his time behind the likes of Timmy Jernigan, Everett Dawkins, Anthony McCloud, Jacobbi McDaniel and Demonte McAllister in prior years. But emerge he did, making 35 tackles, eight for a loss and four sacks on the Seminoles' ACC Championship team.

Playing next to Jernigan on the Florida State's national championship squad in 2013, Goldman did the dirty work with statistics that didn't stand out, totaling just 19 tackles, three for a loss and two sacks.

If a stout, hold-your-ground defender is needed, however, Goldman fits the bill at 6' 4" and 336 lbs.

The worry is that he won't be able to get after the quarterback, but according to Goldman, he isn't worried. He likes his reputation as a run stuffer and think he can be a well-rounded defensive lineman.

“It’s accurate and I like it," said Goldman. "I’m a good pass rusher as well. I can stuff the run and then on third-and-long I can get after the passer.”

Compared to Goldman, Brown is active. Tallying 70 tackles from a defensive tackle position should be all the proof needed to know what kind of athlete the Charlie Strong disciple is.

"I just try to go at a high motor, try to be real disruptive, get to the where I’m supposed to go as fast as I can," said Brown.

In 2014 Brown became the first Longhorns defensive tackle to lead the team in tackles for a loss (15) and sacks (6.5) since 1984, another indication of his hustle. 

Texas may not have had a good season, finishing with a losing 6-7 record, but Brown sure did. He was named a consensus first-team All-American by several outlets and was a finalist for both the Outland and Nagurski trophies.

Brown might be smaller than Goldman, but he's not small. At 6' 2" and 319 lbs., he's capable of playing at several positions along the defensive front.

"You can put me anywhere," said Brown. "I already know how to play the positions. I played end, stand-up end, all that last year. I played nose the previous two years, freshman and sophomore years. I can do it all."

But can a guy that shoots gaps and relies on quickness hold up against the run? Draft analyst Mike Mayock of the NFL Network thinks Brown can.

"Malcom Brown to me is a first-round guy all day long," said Mayock. "Love his size. ... He's stout versus the run. He can push the edge, push the pocket. I think he'll go somewhere in the 20s, between 20 and 32."

Despite significant improvement against the rush in the second half of the season, the Packers could still use help in run-stopping department.

In Week 1 through 8, the Packers allowed an average of 153.5 yards per game, ranking dead last, 32nd out of 32 teams in the NFL. From Weeks 9 though 16, the Packers nearly cut that number in half, allowing an average of 79.5 per game.

If their issues were fixed, however, they wouldn't have allowed Marshawn Lynch to run for 157 yards in the NFC Championship loss.

So the question is, faced with the choice, do the Packers go after the plugger or the penetrator?

It's no sure thing the Packers even go after a defensive lineman in the first round, especially when the need at inside linebacker looms large.

There's also no guarantee either Goldman or Brown will be available. And even if they are, the Packers might prefer a defensive lineman like Oregon's Arik Armstead or Oklahoma's Jordan Phillips instead.

Regardless, it's still an interesting debate—not unlike the preference for the short or tall linebacker, Denzel Perryman or Benardrick McKinney.

 

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor at Cheesehead TV and its "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].

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Comments (10)

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pooch's picture

February 22, 2015 at 05:24 pm

I agree get Raji back 1or 2 year deal,he is gonna play for one more big contract.Need draft pics for in order,ilb,ot,te.Address nose 2016

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slit's picture

February 22, 2015 at 06:27 pm

Danny, agree that we should bring back Raji to play NT. That being said, if Brown is available at 32, we should thank our lucky stars. He might be the best DL in this draft, behind Williams, and he can play any position on the D-Line. You can never have too many strong bodies up front; not to mention Raji is much more productive when he can rotate throughout a game.

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The TKstinator's picture

February 22, 2015 at 02:40 pm

Get the big guys early. I would think GB is smart enough and versatile enough to ask a plugger to plug and a penetrator to penetrate.

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pooch's picture

February 22, 2015 at 05:25 pm

In fact1st 2 pics could be linebacker,inside than out

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slit's picture

February 22, 2015 at 05:48 pm

The perfect beginning of a draft would be Brown in the 1st, then trading up to get Dawson, Perryman, or Kendricks in the 2nd. Problem is that Brown will probably be a top 20 pick, and if any of the three LBs mentioned don't go in the first round, they won't last very long into the second.

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Nick Perry's picture

February 23, 2015 at 06:11 am

Did you watch the combine yesterday? Kendricks was pretty impressive, he ran a 40 time of 4.61, Perryman ran 4.78 and Dawson ran a 4.93 for what that's worth. I've never put a ton of weight in 40 times but I know others do. I thought Dawson would do better but then again how many times will a guy get in a sprinters stance, hold one arm behind his back till the count of 3, and GO all the while dressed in spandex. Either Brown or Goldman would be good additions for the Packers DL.

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HankScorpio's picture

February 23, 2015 at 08:20 am

The problem with dismissing Dawson's slow 40 time is that he was pretty bad in almost every drill. Bad jumps, slow 20 yard shuttle, not a lot of reps on the bench, etc.

I tend to agree that game tape should be worth more than combine results. But they hold those physical tests at the combine for a reason. They do have some level of meaning.

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Nick Perry's picture

February 24, 2015 at 05:01 am

They talked to Anthony of Clemson, had a formal interview with him Sunday. He was impressive in drills, 4.56 in 40, 4.03 in 20 yard shuttle, and he's 6'3" 243 Lbs. This was the guy I had hoped the Packers could get in the 2nd. He won't last that long now so it will be interesting to see Ted works this draft. Wouldn't surprise me to see him trade back like 2008 to pick up extra picks. That one worked pretty well, we drafted Jordy Nelson. Still a ,lot of "Stuff" to go through though.

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4thand1's picture

February 22, 2015 at 06:35 pm

I'd be happy with either of these guys in rd 1

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ES 1957's picture

February 22, 2015 at 07:53 pm

Brown is head and shoulders above the DT s in this draft other than Shelton and Williams. Watch the video and look at the stats. If he's available when the Packers draft I have no doubt they will select him.

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