NAME: David Woodward
SCHOOL: Utah State University
David Woodward is a well-rounded athlete as well as a smart player. Woodward has the potential to be one of the better linebackers in the draft if given a chance. He may not be the most freakish athlete, but he gets the job done. At Utah State, he wasn’t as well known as players from bigger schools like LSU, Ohio State, Alabama, and Clemson. He’s projected to go around the late third or fourth round in the draft, and he’s someone the Colts might really enjoy having on the roster.
Woodward is a safe tackler who almost never misses. The angles he takes to pursue runners are fantastic. He doesn’t have the longest arms, yet he’s able to consistently make the play. There are very few players in the draft with the sure tackling ability that Woodward brings to the table.
What separates Woodward from other players is his football intelligence. He has a great understanding of the game. His spatial awareness is phenomenal, and the angles he takes in pursuit of ball-carriers is elite. His high football IQ is what helps him cause the numerous turnovers he has in his career. Woodward also has a knack for recognizing the play. This can lead you to believe he’s a film junkie, which is always great to see from young defenders.
Woodward’s recognition helps him perform well in zone coverage, diagnosing plays and attempting to shut them down. He reads the backfield well and watches the running back to prevent checkdowns. He also does a good job reading the quarterback’s eyes in order to disrupt routes.
You won’t often see effort listed as an aspect of a playing style, but Woodward is a tryhard. He doesn’t take breaks. He has a nonstop motor and a calculating brain that’s always breaking down plays. Woodward always looks like he knows what he’s going to do before it happens, and he does it. He makes up for his smaller frame with a great work ethic that should translate well to the league.
— USU Football (@USUFootball) November 5, 2017
Woodward seems like a guy Chris Ballard would draft. He seems like a guy with good character that works to make the most of his potential. He’s also a game-wrecker with all of the turnovers he forces. Ballard has drafted players like Malik Hooker and Darius Leonard who have similar noses for the football. Woodward doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but he has a very high floor. You know what you’re getting when you draft him. The Colts should target Woodward in the late third or fourth round to be a super reliable depth player that could produce if a starter got hurt.