Golden Herman Tate III
MEASUREMENTS: 6' and 180 lbs. out of Hendersonville, TN.
THINGS THE PROS GET RIGHT: One of the first thing scouts mention when talking about Tate is his size, which is certainly a factor, as a lot of the NFL's best receivers have freakish metrics. Reggie Wayne, Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers-version) and Wes Welker are all slight of stature, but your high draft picks of wideouts are the big guys that jump off the film (Calvin, Braylon - if he had hands, Andre, Moss, Fitz). Seldom does a smaller receiver go high in the draft, unless Cam Cameron is making the pick, at which point you draft Ted Ginn, Jr., because he has a good family and will make a nice special teams player (reasons in order of importance to Cameron).
Golden is six feet tall on a good day, and that's not changing, but everyone is also wise enough to recognize that his work ethic, proclivity for finding the end zone and sheer will not to be tackled still make him a very special talent. A lot of scouts have written that Golden lets the ball get into his body on some catches, but that happened very rarely, and he was just as likely - if not more so - to catch it with hands extended, like at the 4:50 mark of this horribly scored video or this play:
The point is, save for a couple drops against Michigan, Golden caught nearly every ball slung his way. He ran the wildcat (GOLDENEYE) for scores. He returned a punt for a score. The number of times he was actually tackled in thefield of play, as opposed to being corralled out of bounds or scoring a touchdown, barely reaches single digits, and it always involved about three or four defenders. In a rare case of college football awards going to someone that deserves them, Golden was your 2009 Biletnikoff Award winner and a consensus All-American. He's really, really good.
THINGS THE PROS MAY NOT ACCOUNT FOR: Golden was a running back in high school, so 2009 - a season where he set Notre Dame records for catches and receiving yardage - was only his third as a wide receiver. His freshman year all he knew how to run were fly routes, but oh, he ran them well (1:00 mark of this video). If you think he's good at running routes now, he's still got a lot of room to grow.
I also think it would be ridiculous to judge Tate on anything he does or does not do at the combine. Who cares what his 40 time is? Have a Tackling Drill, where defensive prospects have to just try and tackle Golden. It would make for great TV and I know who I would be betting on.
NON-FOOTBALL THING YOU MAY FIND ENDEARING/CHARMING/INTERESTING: Golden also played centerfield for the Irish baseball team and was a 42nd round pick (1252nd overall) of the Arizona Diamondbacks coming out of high school. He OPSed .802 for the Irish in 2009, going 13 of 14 in stolen bases, knocking out one homer and scoring 45 runs.
TOTAL SUMMARY GRADING OF OVER/UNDERRATED: A lot of early mock drafts had Tate going to the Jets in the late teens, but as the Jets' pick fell, so did Golden, and now some mocks don't have him going in the first round at all. I think the late first round is fair for Tate, especially since he's capable of returning kicks and taking wildcat snaps. There's no reason Tate can't be Percy Harvin-like, and really nothing but opportunity and a good quarterback separating him from turning into Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers-version). Just watch this highlight reel, and ask yourself "Would I like this gentleman on my team?". You know you would, it's just a matter of whether your team has more pressing needs in the trenches or on the defensive side of the ball.