Another Drafting Seahawks article and another focusing on the secondary. This time a look at Louisiana Tech’s Xavier Woods. He is someone who has crept up draft boards over the past few weeks.
Woods was a four-year contributor and long-time starter for the Bulldogs. Over the four years he clocked at least 50 tackles in all four years. He backed that up with 14 interceptions, with 5 of them coming in 2016. Easily his most productive year.
Watching Woods you see him flash into the play often. He, when used as a centre-field defender ala Earl Thomas, reads the QB well and diagnoses sharply to make a play on the ball or ball-carrier. He has occasions when he was lined up elsewhere too. Either in the slot as a nickel corner or up at the line in the run game/pass-rusher. His versatility shines as his ability to make plays doesn’t diminish.
The Seahawks coaches preach technique on tackling and Woods shows good ability in that area too. He rarely makes a misstep and with good closing speed he lays hits on opponents too. All over very Seahawk-y.
He appears to be a good, fluid mover in coverage and that ability to eye in on the QB enables him to lock and move on the ball. Once that move is made he shows incredible ball skills for the position. When lined up off-the-line he uses that most proficiently. His 14 interceptions show that worked well for him and the Bulldogs.
Recruited as a corner out of high-school Woods’ versatility really stands him in good stead for his NFL future. In Seattle the trajectory of DeShawn Shead certainly would be a path to follow if Woods lands in Seattle. His tackling skills would show well in special teams. But that corner/safety cross-over ability would be a good addition to the secondary in Seattle.
With the team likely to push the button early on at corner, Woods’ would be a good double dip later on in the draft.
If he is someone the team end up drafting the Legion of Boom have another willing tackler, speedy defensive back who can make plays on the ball and reads the game really well.