Scout.com's Ed Thompson is reporting that Jacksonville met with former University of Kentucky linebacker Wesley Woodyard at the NFL Combine, and is one of the teams that have shown the strongest interest in him up to this point. Woodyard is an undersized speedy linebacker who measures in at just 6'.5", 227 lbs. and runs the 40 in the low 4.4's. It's obvious that the Jaguars like speedy, sideline to sideline types of players on defense, as they spent a second-round pick last year on Hampton College's Justin Durant, who stepped in for the injured Mike Peterson late in the year and played fantastic football. The team has also selected undersized prospects such as designated pass rusher Brent Hawkins, defensive end Brian Smith, and former University of Florida defensive end Bobby McCray over the last few years.
With Woodyard tipping the scales at around 227 lbs., and running as quick as he does, it's likely that he can make the switch from linebacker to strong safety in the NFL. Woodyard was the SEC's leading tackler over the last two seasons which helped earn him a first-team all SEC selection, and his straight-line speed makes him a perfect candidate to be an inside the box strong safety.
Among Woodyard's attributes include his speed, physical play and great instincts. Woodyard impressed many scouts at the Senior Bowl with his physical play, and went from a marginal NFL prospect to a likely early second day pick. What will likely keep Woodyard from being selected earlier is his position switch, as well as his lack of lateral quickness and stiffness. Woodyard may be forced to play special teams early in his career as he learns the NFL game.
Scout.com has Woodyard rated as the #14 outside linebacker prospect while NFL Draft Scout has Woodyard as the #4 rated strong safety prospect in what's said to be a rather weak safety class. NFL Draft Scout also has Woodyard rated as the #10 outside linebacker and at this point the former Kentucky Wildcat is slated to be a third or fourth-round pick.
With the Jaguars having a likely need at strong safety with the injured Gerald Sensabaugh as the only returning player, along with former undrafted free agent Jamaal Fudge, it is possible that the team could pull the trigger on selecting Woodyard early on the second day of the draft.
More Interest in a Linebacker
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