The 2017 NFL Draft will be the 82nd annual meeting of National Football League franchises to select newly eligible football players. It will be held April 27–29 in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art at Eakins Oval. Look for continuing draft coverage from University of Delaware students Katherine Nails and Jack Roberts, including coverage of the NFL Draft Experience.
April 27, the first day of the 2017 NFL draft, looms over the heads of this year’s potential draftees—including Chris Godwin, a Middletown native who is predicted to be selected on day two.
While he’s excited to live out his dream of playing professional football, Godwin is also just ready to work.
“[…] [I’m] recognizing that football is my job—this is my profession,” Godwin, 21, says.
His entrance into the world of professional football comes after a standout junior year as a wide receiver at Penn State University, where he doubled his scoring numbers from five touchdowns his sophomore year to 11 his junior year, all while maintaining an impressive 16 yards per catch both years.
Courtesy of Kaveh Akbari, MBK Sports Management
Godwin started playing at age six, but his football pedigree began at Middletown High School where he says he built a foundation centered on hard work.
Since then he has been taking his athletic career step by step.
“I didn’t realize until my sophomore year in high school that playing in college was a possibility,” Godwin says. “Then, ironically enough, during my sophomore year of college was when I realized that [the NFL] was really a possibility.”
Godwin spent the majority of his freshman year at Penn State acclimating to the structure and complexity of college football. “It really clicked for me at the end of my freshman year, he says. “I had a really big game in the [New Era Pinstripe Bowl] game, and taking that momentum into the off-season really kind of catapulted me into having the year I had my sophomore year.”
In that breakout sophomore year, Godwin put up a career-best 69 receptions, racking up just over 1,100 yards in 13 games.
He was able to continue building this momentum through to the biggest stage of his college career—The Rose Bowl.
In his last collegiate game for Penn State, he put up a career-high 187 yards, and hauled in nine catches and two touchdowns in a nail-biting 52–49 loss to the University of Southern California.
Godwin’s statistics speak for themselves. He has put up at least six catches and 100 yards in each of his three bowl games. He ends his PSU career as the school leader in bowl game receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and receptions.
On Jan. 15, 2017, following his stellar junior year, Godwin declared for the NFL draft, a decision he felt would be best for his future.
“I was ready to make that jump,” Godwin says. “The NFL is not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but I felt I was ready to take the next step in my growth and development.”
Godwin addresses the media at the NFL Combine. // Courtesy of Kaveh Akbari, MBK Sports Management
He burst onto the scene at the NFL Scouting Combine, showcasing his physical abilities with the top performance in the 20-yard shuttle, and a top two performance in the bench press. To cap off an all-around great showing, he ran a 4.42 40-yard dash, one of the best marks among the combine’s wide receivers.
Godwin’s years of hard work paid off during this test of athleticism, where “it just came down to actually putting the proof on paper,” he says.
Godwin was also the only Delaware resident to participate in the Combine this year—a fact that he didn’t know until just beforehand.
“I’m just proud to be from Delaware […],” he says. “Obviously there’s not many of us athletes that make it to this point. Hopefully I can open the door for more Delaware athletes, and specifically football players, to reach their goals.”
With the NFL draft quickly approaching, Godwin’s fired up, but is trying not to overthink his future.
“At the end of it all, I’m just excited to be able to live my dream, to prove what I can do, and honestly, to get to work.”