I’ve watched the 49ers play enough the past couple years that I truly do feel great about the Jonathan Goodwin pickup. Even at 35 years old I believe he is a significant upgrade over Brian de la Puente last year and Tim Lelito this year. Durability is one of his obvious strengths, but how has his play on the field been? I personally have been impressed with his performance in the games I’ve watched but I wanted to check the grading system of Pro Football Focus to see if they agreed.
So here is how the grading has gone for Goodwin since 2009 (the year he started for Saints at center and won the Super Bowl):
2009: +15.7 overall, +6.1 pass block, +2.0 screen block, +6.9 run block
2010: -4.0 overall, -1.5 pass block, -0.5 screen block, -4.7 run block
2011: -0.6 overall, -8.1 pass block, +0.5 screen block, +5.3 run block
2012: +13.2 overall, +1.1 pass block, +0.5 screen block, +9.8 run block
2013: +1.9 overall, -1.1 pass block, 0.0 screen block, +2.2 run block
Now PFF isn’t the end all be all by any means, but I still enjoy gauging how Goody’s performance has been in recent years in their estimation. Interesting to note that 2012 was a fantastic year for him (according to PFF) where he received his best run blocking grades of his career. In fact, in three seasons with the 49ers his run blocking grades have been stellar. His pass blocking grades has stabilized since struggling his first season in San Francisco. The screen game doesn’t have much of a place in the 49ers’ offense but I remember that being a huge part of his game and abilities in New Orleans, so he’ll get to add that wrinkle in once again.
In 2009 and 2012 Goody was one of the best centers in the league on this grading scale. In 2011 he was average, 2013 he was a plus center, and he was considered mediocre in 2010. Overall I think his track record looks very good and his recent history is very encouraging, particularly in the run blocking department.
By comparison Tim Lelito had the following numbers last season, though pointing these out includes his disaster of a first start against Arizona:
-8.0 overall, -5.3 pass block, -0.5 screen block, -2.8 run block
If you take away the Arizona game, though, he’s at -0.5 overall, -0.4 pass block, -0.5 screen block and +0.1 run block.
Lastly, here are the numbers Brian de la Puente has put up the past few seasons:
2013: +4.0 overall, +2.7 pass block, +1.5 screen block, -3.7 run block
2012: +23.0 overall, +5.6 pass block, +2.5 screen block, +13.6 run block
2011: +6.1 overall, +5.5 pass block, +3.0 screen block, -4.9 run block
Obviously the NFL teams didn’t evaluate BDLP quite the same judging from his minimum contract in free agency to sign as a backup for the Bears. I will say that while his technique and lateral movement was good, de la Puente would get bowled over by more physical players. He really struggled against the power players. Goodwin is a much more physical player while still maintaining pull ability. Still, it’s surprisingly Goodwin would get a contract for 300k more judging by these numbers.
How do you feel about the return of Goodwin? Is he definitely starting over Lelito? Do you think this is an upgrade over de la Puente despite the PFF grades?