Football IQ - His processor is strong and he's disciplined. Doesn't get crossed up with misdirection or read action at the mesh point and has the patience and aggressive angles to wait out delayed declarations from ball carriers. Love his nose for the football — routinely the first to see the play, as evidenced by gaudy production.
Tackling - He's got some nasty thumps on his resume. He's got significant pop and he does well to remain balanced through contact. His wingspan isn't the biggest and his influence, as a result is a bit boxy — he's not going to lengthen himself and recover if he's shook early. Vacuum between the tackles.
Block Shedding - Ability to stack blocks is probably his biggest sticking point. He doesn't have great extension skills and OL who climb uncontested can get him walled off. He's more effective to slip first contact with short area mobility and more often than not he wins prime real estate by being so quick to key the play.
Competitive Toughness - He's all over the field. Routinely the first to the football. Appreciate his functional strength in head on collisions to hold ground, he's a stout and confident tackler. Not great in a "thud" role and wouldn't ask him to play into single gaps and plug. Get an A-gap stalwart in front of him and let him scrape sideline to sideline.
Lateral Mobility - He's got plenty of range and patience as a run defender outside the box. He's controlled and doesn't panic or overrun a lot of reps. Like that he's got some quicks, too — he'll surprise OL with his ole' to dip into the backfield and crash gaps uncontested, even if it means crossing face to beat RB to a spot.
Coverage Skills - Modest ball production, he's had most success in shallow zone. Not sure he'd make a lot of sense flexed outside the box for man to man reps but he's got the movement skills to handle RB assignments. Football IQ serves as an aid in zone coverage to drive on throws and contest catch point over MOF.
Gap Shooting Abilities - Quick out of his read steps and has the finesse skills to drop the shoulder or slip back across the face of an OL. He isn't the most explosive LB and as a result he'll occasionally get caught with an ambitious shoot, but he shows good recovery in those instances to play the cut back.
Feet/COD - Pretty well balanced and patient to scrape, mirror and react. Not one to really let himself recklessly build momentum and get himself out of position to break down for tackle challenges. He's controlled and an above average athlete but generally not a "new era" LB who is an elite mover.
Flexibility - Appreciate his ability to unload his frame on tackle challenges — rolls through contact with authority and delivers some jarring hits. He's comfortable hinging his hips laterally and can do so with only some slight issues with pads popping up. His base isn't super dynamic, which makes his controlled approach important.
First Step Explosiveness - He's not the most potent or twitched athlete, which does water down some of his appeal for a featured attack role. But he's got enough drive out of flat foot reads to quickly attack crossers. His weapon is his smarts, not necessarily anything that he does physically to overwhelm opposing OL.
Best Trait - Football IQ
Worst Trait - Block Deconstruction
Best Film - Wake Forest (2019)
Worst Film - LSU (2019)
Red Flags - Vertebrae fracture, several concussions, 2019 season ending INJ
Player Summary - David Woodward projects as a starting linebacker at the pro level — he's got the necessary processing skills to be an effective MIKE LB. Woodward will need a viable interior defensive line in front of him to protect him from blocks, but his mental processing allows him to beat blockers to the spot. Woodward's injury history is problematic and will be something that needs to monitored closely for a potential suitor. Woodward's upside is notable — if he's healthy, he's a force.