NAME: David Woodward
SCHOOL: Utah State
WEIGHT: 235 pounds
In today’s Chiefs draft prospect profile, we will look into a linebacker who’s projected to go in the middle rounds. He may not have the athletic traits that jump out with other prospects like Patrick Queen or Kenneth Murray. However, he consistently gets the job done and can be counted on in different alignments. Now, let’s get things started with our breakdown of Utah State’s David Woodward.
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Overall, Woodward is not flashy with his tackle attempts. He just simply wraps his arms around opponents and wrestles them to the turf. When big hit opportunities are there, Woodward lays a notable pop. His pad level and angles are well calculated. Though, his missed tackles generally come from flying in too low, there is a good sense of balance and control. Moreover, Woodward understands how to position and set himself up well for tackles, despite a lack of length.
While I think Woodward has plus instincts and reaction ability, there is a limit to how teams could use him in space. His athleticism does not quite match up with other linebackers that are in this draft class. Furthermore, Woodward has tight hips. Combine that with varying length, and his open field tackling will be an aspect to monitor closely. He is a tackling machine throughout every game, numbers-wise. But, Woodward wins more by using his effort and keying in on fits and downhill flow.
This is likely the most polished part of Woodward’s game coming into the NFL level. His ability to process plays never waivers during the course of a game. Meanwhile, that patience and body control are shown in the mental side of things as well. Very rarely, does Woodward get confused with play action at the mesh point. As seen with his production, the ability to constantly see the play and get his hat to the ball first will lead to early down success.
Taking On Blocks
There are both positives and negatives in this area. On one hand, Woodward has made plenty of tackles while still being blocked. Opposing runners simply just cannot seem to get away from him. In addition, Woodward has the short area quickness to weave around people or slip off of blocks. On the flip side, he struggles to keep his hands consistently active. There is also a lack of extension or power that is needed to disengage off of blocks. As a result, his effort will lead to stronger results when he continues to keep his feet moving. Time to develop here will need to be a focus for Woodward early on in his career.
Is there a limit with his natural athleticism? Yes. Nonetheless, Woodward shows that he can consistently drop back and sink his hips. Playing in zone coverage will suit him best. Woodward actually has better anticipation skills than I previously thought. He jumps route with ease and it is tough to best him over the middle of the field. Utah State has used him out wide or in flexed positions. Woodward makes more tackles in those spots, compared to plays on the football. But the bottom line is, he has quite the nose for the football.
David Woodward projects as an early down defender in a defensive style that the Kansas City Chiefs employ. His ability to shoot gaps and fill run fits will not go unnoticed. To boot, his physical, tough style mixes well with his downhill flow. Utah State let him line up near the line of scrimmage off the edge or up the middle, next to the nose tackle as a stand up defender. Besides playing on the second level, Kansas City would enjoy using Woodward to shoot through quickly on all out blitzes. Having his read and react skills gels well when playing zone coverage. Most of all, his effort will get the attention of Steve Spagnuolo and special teams coach Dave Toub.
Be on the lookout for more Chiefs offseason coverage. Included, will be more draft prospect profiles in the leadup to the NFL selections in a couple of short weeks. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.