After four years of success at Ohio State, Garrett Goebel has finished his tenure in scarlet and gray and is likely going to spend the next four days patiently waiting by a phone, while his television idles on coverage of the NFL draft; it may be a long wait for the Villa Park, Illinois native. He knows that his partners-in-defensive-crime Johnathan Hankins and John Simon are going to hear their names called at some point over the weekend, but his fate for an NFL career is nowhere as bright, fairly or otherwise.
Goebel was overshadowed by his teammates, but just because Brent Musburger wasn't calling out his name on television doesn't mean that his career wasn't successful in its own right. Goebel started all 25 games in 2011 and 2012 to close out his career, and put up impressive numbers in both years, including recording 75 tackles, two sacks, and two passes defended.
His biggest plays, however, came in this last year as one of the stalwart defenders on head coach Urban Meyer's first Buckeye team. After Braxton Miller was sent to the hospital in the Purdue game, Goebel blocked at late third quarter field goal, which helped the Buckeyes get to overtime and eventually beat the Boilermakers to remain undefeated. His biggest statistical game came against Nebraska, where Goebel racked up a career-high nine tackles, helping the Buckeye defense stymie Taylor Martinez and the Cornhuskers.
So how does this translate to a career in the NFL? That's the question certainly going through Goebel's head right now. There's no doubt he's talented, and he lived up to his prep reputation as a Mr. Football Illinois candidate while at Ohio State. His Pro Day results were decent, running a 5.32 40 and hitting 22 reps on the 225 lb. bench. That's a strong enough performance to put him in the upper-middle of the pack at his position. That he was able to start (and occasionally star) on a defense that included likely draft picks in Hankins, Simon, and Travis Howard also speaks very highly to his abilities and motivation.
Is there a team out there that is looking for a good, but not exceptional defensive tackle? With the current trend in NFL offenses, getting strong, fast, capable defensive linemen is a necessity rather than a desire. But this year has plenty of talent at that position at the top and middle of the draft. If Goebel is selected, it will likely be toward the tail end of the weekend, if at all.
Best case for Goebel, a general manager takes a flyer on him in the late sixth/early seventh round, and he impresses enough coaches in camp to make an NFL roster and see very limited playing time on special teams and very occasionally on defense. More likely, however, is that Goebel turns out to be an incredibly valuable part of whatever team is lucky enough to give him a spot on their practice squad.