Antwaun Woods made the most of his NFLPA Bowl appearance, now he’ll look to keep his stock rising with another powerful performance at the 2016 NFL Combine.
Though it took Antwaun Woods a few years to gain recognition on USC’s defensive line, he finished out his career with an impressive senior season and high-level performance in the Holiday Bowl. At the 2016 NFL Combine he’ll have to convince scouts that his high upside is worth a late draft pick.
What did he do at USC?
Woods started straight away as a redshirt freshman, holding the top spot on the depth chart for four games in 2012 and backing up George Uko for the remainder of the season.
Sep 6, 2014; Stanford, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans nose tackle Antwaun Woods (99) against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
In 2013, Woods served as the Trojans starting nose tackle, appearing in all but one game. By 2014 he maintained his role as a starter before tearing a pectoral muscle and missing the Holiday Bowl.
It wasn’t until Woods completed his senior season that his production as a starter rose. Though he missed the Arizona State game with a shoulder injury, the big-bodied defensive lineman earned All-Pac-12 first team recognition with 41 tackles and seven tackles for loss, which was more than his previous two seasons as a start combined.
Named USC’s Defensive Lineman of the Year, Woods finished his career with 113 tackles, eight sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss in 33 starts.
What’s his current draft stock?
Woods greatly increased his draft stock by taking a step up in his senior season, but a few more steps are necessary to ensure him a place in the draft.
His invitation to the NFLPA Bowl in January did not go wasted as he proved himself as one of the most impressive players on the field during the week of practice earning praise from all corners.
As it stands now, CBSSports.com projects the tackle in the sixth or seventh rounds, citing his hustle and quickness for his size as assets while questioning his stamina and pass rushing ability.
“Googling the phrase ‘low center of gravity’ should bring up a picture of Woods,” Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote of Woods, though he too notes that Woods must do a better job of adding penetration as a part of his game.
What can he improve at the Combine?
Woods has good size as an interior defensive lineman at 6-foot-1, 320 but if he projects as a nose tackle his size may not be enough to fill a run-stuffing role at the NFL level.
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At the Combine he’ll need to prove capable of being an immovable object as a run stopper. Improving his ability to get leverage in one-on-one drills could go a long way.
Reminding scouts of his athleticism couldn’t hurt matters either, since one of the things which stood out to observers at the NFLPA Bowl was Woods’ impressive movement in spite of his size.
Considering his injury record, passing medical testing may also be a factor in keeping his draft stock on the rise.
A team captain, Woods is also considered a high-character prospect, so interviews could be an opportunity to make a positive impression on teams who will be looking to use one of their late picks wisely.