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Goodson Runs (And Catches) His Way Into Backfield Battle

NFL teams love running backs who can catch and have speed. Iowa’s Tyler Goodson went undrafted but has shown his explosive potential with the Packers.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers running back Tyler Goodson won’t be lacking for motivation for Friday night’s preseason opener at the 49ers.

In three seasons at Iowa, Goodson rushed for 2,551 yards, caught 70 passes and finished with 3,116 total yards and 19 touchdowns. At the Scouting Combine, he ran his 40 in 4.42 seconds.

NFL teams love running backs who can catch and have the speed to take the ball to the house. Yet Goodson wasn’t among the 22 running backs who were drafted in April.

“I do feel like I’m better than the other running backs that had been drafted,” Goodson said on Wednesday. “But, hey, every team has their opinion and every coach has the guy they like. That’s out of my control. I’ve just got to control what I can control and be where my feet are each and every day. That’s what I’m doing.”

Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are locked in as the Packers’ one-two punch in the backfield, but Goodson is challenging Patrick Taylor for the No. 3 spot. Days like Wednesday won’t hurt. First, he took a toss, juked Shemar Jean-Charles and broke off a big run down the left sideline. Later, during the final moments of a two-minute drill, Goodson created some space in the back of the end zone – perhaps illegally, he said with a laugh – for a 23-yard, scramble-drill touchdown reception from Jordan Love.

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At 5-foot-9 and 197 pounds, Goodson is a bit light but, when he sees a crack, that speed is impossible to ignore. With Jones and Dillon likely being held out of the preseason opener and with Taylor coming back from an injury, Goodson figures to get a long look against the 49ers.

“First of all, I’m excited for this opportunity,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been put in the best position possible for any running back, knowing that there’s a third spot open and I have a chance to compete for it. Coming into this game, I’m just trying to prepare myself and be ready for every situation that’s thrown my way.”

After going undrafted, Goodson said signing with Green Bay was an easy decision. Agents Pat Dye and Mitchell Moorer surveyed the options and depth charts. With last year’s seventh-round pick, Kylin Hill, coming off a torn ACL, the opportunity to earn a roster spot was clear. So, like fellow undrafted running back B.J. Baylor, Goodson signed a contract that included an $8,000 signing bonus.

“A lot of other teams that wanted me to come to the facility and be a part of the team, they had drafted a running back,” Goodson said. “My agent had told me that if I’d come here, it would be the best opportunity for me to get on the field with special teams and even compete for the third spot. So, I told him, ‘I’m in.’ That’s how I got here. Ever since I set foot in the door, that’s been my goal is to try to compete to the best of my abilities to win that third spot. That’s my plan.”

And if he proves wrong all those teams that drafted some other running back, all the better.

“To be honest with you, I don’t know” why he wasn’t drafted, Goodson said. “I honestly thought I was going to get drafted but, hey, God makes everything happen for a reason and I feel like Him making that happen for me put me in this position to be able to compete for the third spot. Just to be in the best position that fits me, that’s really all I wanted coming out of this draft. Yeah, it was disappointing for me not to get drafted but, at the same time, I’ve got to realize the opportunity that’s at stake and the position I’m in, and that’s a good position. I’m thankful for it.”