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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Godfrey As Nickel

I'd previously mentioned this, but wanted to dig in further.

I do have some worry about relying on Charles Godfrey as a nickel, but
the move makes sense if he's healthy.

Godfrey adds size, length, experience, upgrades the nickel tackling
skill, and possibly blitz ability (he only has 3 sacks career, but at
210 he's not going to completely fold against a blocker the way a 180 lb
guy would). If he proves good at it, but his full speed isn't around
with the Achilles injury, him being a short-zone guy isn't catastrophic
either.

The interesting thing, if you remember, is that this has come up before.

In 2011, Carolina did little to add at cornerback; they had Chris
Gamble, who would have a very good season, and little else; Captain
Munnerlyn would start the year, his first as a starter, but there wasn't
anything else of real consequence (Josh Thomas, still with the team, and
Darius Butler, who the team had moved on from a few years ago but is
still in the league).

Then, get into camp, and the idea was to move Godfrey down from SS and
insert second-year S Jordan Pugh. After raves by the final Fox staff
for his football IQ, Pugh had a solid end to 2010, starting two games
and pulling out 4 tackles, a defensed pass, and an INT in one of those
two starts. Godfrey, of course, was a college corner, and his move to
safety despite having corner ability was, at the time, surprising. The
simple idea that Godfrey was a corner isn't always easy to remember, and
the idea that the team intended to throw him on at nickel in '11 is a
distant memory too (since it never really happened).

Pugh struggled in camp, and though he started a game in 2011, the
Godfrey to nickel thing never really materialized. A year later
Carolina was left trying new things at corner (and '13, and '14...)
while Godfrey stayed at S.

The few college draft writeups left from 2008 all call him a corner, and
somewhat glow about him. "Rare combo of size/speed...Versatile". "good
initial quickness and physicality to re-route the receiver...effective
in zone".

Now at CB, my concern is his health. His deep speed doesn't bother me,
but he does have to deal with a fairly catastrophic injury within a
calendar year of seeing the field again (he was hurt in October, and
isn't 100%). But, for now, on paper, looks like it's not an awful
idea.
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