Golden Tate, 2010 NFL Draft

Golden Tate

Wide Receiver

5’ 11” 197 lbs

Notre Dame

Junior (Declared)

Strengths: Quickness, agility, awareness and ability to run after the catch.

Weaknesses: Size, speed, strength.

By Scot Acocks

Golden Tate has declared for the 2010 NFL Draft and thinks he is capable of taking his game to the next level. At this point there are a few questions about his ability as a pro receiver. I have heard him compared to the Vikings Percy Harven, which is a good comparison, but he isn't quite as explosive as Harvin.

During his high school playing days in the state of Tennessee Tate played mostly running back while also seeing time as a receiver and defensive back. He came to Notre Dame as one of the most highly recruited pure athletes, being the 11th rated prep player on ESPN’s Top 150 list and the fourth best “athlete” by The Sporting News. He was also an outfielder for the Irish baseball team.

As a freshman Tate played in all 12 games. Against Purdue that year he caught three passes for 104 yards, giving the Irish faithful a glimpse of things to come. Overall he only had six receptions but he averaged 21.7 yards per catch.

Tate’s sophomore year last season brought more success, catching 58 passes for 1080 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had his best game in the Hawaii Bowl against the University of Hawaii, gaining 177 yards on six catches and getting into the endzone three times. He also had 521 kickoff return yards that year.

In 2009 Tate had an outstanding year as the Irish were without their other starting wide receiver, Michael Floyd. Even though he got a lot of attention from opposing defense, Tate managed to rush for 186 yards and two TD’s on 25 carries and catch 93 passes for 1496 yards and 15 more TD’s. He also returned 12 punts for 171 yards and a TD.

Tate is a good athlete who is explosive once the ball is in his hands. He can run smooth routes, getting in and out of his cuts quickly but he is still learning the wide receiver position. He is not a burner, but he can run under throws and make some nifty moves after the catch.

The biggest knock on Tate is his tendency to drop too many passes. He simply does not have the natural hands to snatch balls out of the air. He also does not have the ideal receiver size and strength to beat defenders for jump balls. He may not be able to get by on his speed and quickness alone and will have to work real hard to be a good player at the next level. As a former running back, when he gets the ball in his hands he doesn't run out of bounds like many receivers today, instead he goes straight for the goal line.

A lot of people project Tate to be a first round pick after he declared himself eligible for the 2010 NFL Draft. He doesn’t have the elite skills of other prospects though, and will most likely be found still waiting to be selected in the second round. However, his production can't be ignored, the kid just knows how to play football and has a nack for making the big play is incredible. He could turn out to be a versatile slot receiver and valuable return man. It is even possible that he could find a home as a third down back in the NFL as teams are now collecting varieties of running backs with diverse skill sets to fill their stables.

2009 Stats with the Fighting Irish: