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Old 05-18-2008, 06:41 AM   #1
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Default UDFA Donovan Woods-Linebacker

UDFA Donovan Woods-Linebacker
Posted Apr 28, 2008


Former Oklahoma State linebacker Donovan Woods is the first known Cowboy player from this year's rookie class to sign a free agent contract with the NFL. Woods signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers shortly after the end of the NFL Draft, according to a family source.

Woods, who led the Cowboys in tackles last season with 82 total, six tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception, and two forced fumbles, was also the Defensive MVP in Oklahoma State's 49-33 win over Indiana in the Insight Bowl.

Woods, who is 6-2, 235 pounds, also played quarterback and safety during his Cowboy career. Several teams had shown interest in Woods who tested well on the OSU Pro Day, but it was the Steelers that employ a 3-4 defense that made the strong move to sign the former Millwood High School star from Oklahoma City.

Woods is the third member of his family to sign an NFL contract. His older brother Rashaun was a first-round pick in the NFL Draft in 2003 of the San Francisco 49ers. His other older brother, D'Juan, is currently a wide receiver with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

My brothers have been able to give me some tidbits," Donovan said. "They're really encouraging me. But like a lot of things, just like high school and college, you have to learn them for yourself

When Donovan Woods was a redshirt freshman quarterback, he debuted with a win over UCLA in the Rose Bowl and led Oklahoma State to the Alamo Bowl.

Even then, many felt his best shot at an NFL career would be on defense. A little over three years later, Woods has signed as a free agent ... as a linebacker.

"I feel this is a good fit for me, Linebacker is probably where I'll play the rest of my career however long I'm blessed to play."

Woods' story has been well documented. After leading the Cowboys to a 7-5 season in 2004, he moved to defense early his sophomore season to allow Bobby Reid to take over at quarterback.

It was the first time Woods had played defense since junior high. Three games into the season, with no off-season to ease the transition, Woods still became a starter at safety.

His constantly changing career took another twist following his junior season when defensive coordinator Tim Beckman moved Woods to linebacker.

"Whatever happened in the past nothing can be done about that," Woods said. "I'm in a good spot. I'm just looking forward to the future and playing linebacker for Pittsburgh."

Woods said he and his agent weighed offers from four NFL teams before signing a free-agent deal with the Steelers on April 27, hours after the draft.

Pittsburgh has eight veteran linebackers. The Steelers also selected two linebackers in last weekend's draft -- Bruce Davis (UCLA) in the third round and Mike Humpal (Iowa) in the sixth round. But in the Steelers' 3-4 scheme, more linebackers are needed.

Unlike Davis and Humpal, Woods has played linebacker only one year. While some might view that as a disadvantage, Woods feels he still has a lot of room to improve.

"I'll work at everything and just try to get better every day as far as techniques and schemes," Woods said. "I'm still learning how to play linebacker. It's a different position. You learn something new every day. Some things will take a little longer."

Woods adapted quickly last season to a position Beckman labels "star linebacker," a hybrid position not that different from being a drop-down safety.

"Nothing was that difficult," Woods said. "The biggest difference was being that close to the (line of scrimmage) and dealing with offensive linemen. That was the one thing that took a little getting used to. Football is football regardless of where you play."


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Old 05-18-2008, 06:58 AM   #2
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Default Re: UDFA Donovan Woods-Linebacker

Football is football no matter what position you play?
I guess this guy knows what he is saying because I can honestly say that I have never played the game in high school or anywhere organised, but it just seems like to me that it would matter where you played.
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Old 05-18-2008, 09:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: UDFA Donovan Woods-Linebacker

Sounds like he may be a prospect to look forward to in a few years. Imagine for a second if we had a hybrid linebacker able to roam around the field pre-snap like Troy does.
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Old 05-19-2008, 06:05 AM   #4
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Default Re: UDFA Donovan Woods-Linebacker

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elvis View Post
Football is football no matter what position you play?
I guess this guy knows what he is saying because I can honestly say that I have never played the game in high school or anywhere organised, but it just seems like to me that it would matter where you played.
Sounds like a ST mentality...where being tenacious is more important than technique.

Works well as a gunner...not so good as a starting LBer
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Old 05-20-2008, 01:17 PM   #5
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Default Re: UDFA Donovan Woods-Linebacker

Quote:
Originally Posted by FordsnSteelers View Post
Sounds like he may be a prospect to look forward to in a few years. Imagine for a second if we had a hybrid linebacker able to roam around the field pre-snap like Troy does.
That is the plan for Timmons, his skill set lends to him being a rover in the middle. We should see some of that this season, even if he doesn't start. His speed and athleticism will be a welcome sight on passing downs.

As far as Woods is concerned, the team brought all these LBs in for a reason, play STs like your balls are on fire and you have a shot at making the team.
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Old 05-20-2008, 04:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: UDFA Donovan Woods-Linebacker

He could end up being our best undrafted free agent of this class.
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