Summary: There is no substitute for size and speed in the NFL. Defenses are always looking to have an advantage of size, speed and physicality at the point of attack. There are only so many players who possess the combination that Goldman has, and that makes him a top commodity in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Entering last season, the hype for the Florida State defensive line was centered around Mario Edwards Jr., but it was Goldman who had the best season among the Seminoles' defensive linemen. He was far and away their most effective player at the point of attack with his ability to cause disruption using his size and surprising burst. Consistently, Goldman was pushing his way into the backfield or clogging up running lanes in the middle.
Goldman racked up 35 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, four sacks and a forced fumble in 2014. He came up with a huge forced fumble against Clemson when the Tigers were deep in Florida State territory about to kick a chip-shot field goal for the win late in the fourth quarter. The fumble that Goldman produced swung the game in the Seminoles' favor for a season-saving overtime victory.
Goldman broke into the starting lineup in 2013 and picked up 19 tackles with three tackles for a loss and two sacks. As a sophomore, he was also suspended for one game.
For the NFL, Goldman looks like a player who could be a difference-maker toward controlling the line of scrimmage. He is nearly impossible to move in the ground game. Goldman is strong and built to hold his ground when runs come straight at him. He also can shed blocks and get in on tackles. Goldman does a nice job of holding his ground when getting hit with a double-team and is very good at eating up blocks to free up his linebackers.
In the passing game, Goldman has the ability to stay on the field and contribute. He has a burst and can catch offensive linemen by surprise with some speed to penetrate the pocket. Goldman also has a fierce bull rush to collapse the middle and make it very difficult for quarterbacks to step up. Goldman probably won't ever produce a huge sack total in the NFL, but he has the physical skills to contribute to a rush from the interior.
Goldman is big, strong, quick and disruptive. He can fit as a nose tackle in a 3-4 defense, and also could kick outside to play some 3-4 defensive end with his length. Haloti Ngata and Vince Wilfork have done that well. Goldman could remain as a nose tackle in a 4-3 defense and also has enough quickness to get some consideration as a power three-technique.
Goldman could go in the middle of the first round in the 2015 NFL Draft and shouldn't fall much deeper than that.
Player Comparison: Dontari Poe. Goldman isn't quite the physical freak that Poe is, but Goldman has an overwhelming combination of size and quickness like Poe. Poe (6-3, 346) is an inch shorter, and they both play in the 335-350-pound range. In the 2012 NFL Draft, Poe was a first-round pick, and Goldman should also go on Thursday night. In the NFL, I see Goldman being a player similar to Poe.
NFL Matches: Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Baltimore, San Francisco, Houston, Detroit, Green Bay, Dallas, New England
Given the demand for interior defensive linemen in the NFL, there shouldn't be any shortage of teams hoping to land Goldman in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The highest spot he could potentially hope to land would be with Cleveland in the teens. Goldman would be perfect in the middle of the Browns' 3-4 defense and fits how they want to build up the talent on their lines. Goldman could be a fit for Cleveland with its selection at pick No. 19.
Staying in the AFC North, Pittsburgh would make a lot of sense for Goldman. He could be an upgrade for the Steelers at nose tackle and also fits a 4-3 set when they mix in more of that system in 2015. The Bengals could use a nose tackle to pair with speedy three-technique Geno Atkins as Domata Peko had a down season in 2014. Goldman could inject some young talent in the middle of Cincinnati's line. The Ravens also need a replacement for Haloti Ngata, and Goldman could be a perfect fit.
The 49ers might consider some defensive line help given the loss of Justin Smith and Ray McDonald. If San Francisco takes Goldman, the organization could move Quinton Dial to end as a potential replacement for Smith.
Houston signed Vince Wilfork and drafted Louis Nix last year, but the organization has shown interest in nose tackles. Wilfork can also play defensive end. If the Texans trade down, Goldman could be an option for them.
In the NFC North, Goldman has a few landing spots. The Packers brought back B.J. Raji and Letroy Guion on short-term deals, but need a long-term nose tackle. Detroit replaced its departed defensive tackles with Haloti Ngata, but could use another starter next to him.
Dallas is weak at defensive tackle, and Goldman would upgrade the team's defensive line. New England also has to replace Wilfork and Goldman would be perfect. However, the Patriots probably will have to trade up to get him as it looks unlikely he falls to pick No. 32.