NFL GMs: Don’t Wait for Golden Tate

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By Kevin Hunt

His name will inspire a number of sports clichés to any story describing him. But Golden Tate is anything but a cliché wide receiver.

When you look at the wide out from Notre Dame, he’s average. Tate is right in the middle in terms of height and weight. But he brings much more than a physical presence to the field.

The number one strength for Tate is his versatility. Put him in the slot, put him out on the numbers or even put him in the backfield and he can help a team offensively – and that doesn’t include his ability to serve as a punt returner. His unique blend of speed (4.42 40-yard dash was 4th quickest for receivers at the NFL Combine) and strength make him a shifty, tough person to tackle in the open field.

The problem for Tate is that those are raw talents and many see him as a raw receiver. There were a number of games, especially in 2008 as a sophomore, when Tate was simply out-jumping defensive backs for big catches. His route running ability has been criticized, with many coaches even going so far as to say he would be “a project.” It also will be a challenge for him to get much better at blocking in the running game, mainly because his size puts him equal to many defensive backs and smaller than outside linebackers.golden tate

Another of Tate’s strengths -which he shares with all Notre Dame prospects of the past five years – he played in a pro-style offense. While just being active in that setting isn’t enough, Golden Tate already understands a lot of the play calling terminology that will occupy other wide receivers before and during training camp. By all accounts he’s an extremely intelligent player –which could be said about pretty much anyone who can be accepted to Notre Dame.

If a player’s ability to learn is what worries you the most as a member of a coaching staff, he’s worth your time in the NFL. Golden Tate ranks lower than Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant overall, but there are concerns about the fact that Bryant hasn’t played competitively in some time (see: Williams, Mike, 2005 NFL Draft). Tate’s agent, Todd France, also isn’t known for demanding absurd contract numbers or having his clients hold out – both of which mean whichever team drafts Tate is likely to get him into the “classroom” almost immediately.

Expect Golden Tate to get selected in the early part of the second round to a team looking to fill the slot position. He’s not afraid to go over the middle of the field and has dependable hands, but won’t be needed on every down. He could go as high as the Atlanta Falcons (#19) or San Diego Chargers (#28), depending on how teams feel during that first night.

The more likely spot would be somewhere in the early- to mid-second round. Many of the teams picking in this portion of the draft, especially the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders, could use a weapon at wide receiver – and new Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis went out the door in South Bend with Tate last season. Just know that teams won’t be able to wait for Tate.

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Comments

  1. Jared Rosenberger says

    This is a very interesting article and I agree fully with everything this writer has said. While I have no idea who this “Kevin Hunt” is, I am sure he is going places and is in all likelihood a very sexy man. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  2. paulmbanks says

    Agreed! This kid has got potential.

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