Longshot D'Juan Woods Making His Mark

The Jaguars wide receiver depth may be the best in team history entering the 2008 season. The bigger names in the wide receiver corps consist of Jerry Porter, Reggie Williams, and Troy Williamson, to compliment Dennis Northcutt, Matt Jones, and youngsters Mike Walker and John Broussard. One of the names that hasn't been mentioned any more than an afterthought has been D'Juan Woods.

D'Juan Woods is two years removed from Oklahoma State University, as he came to Jacksonville as an undrafted free agent rookie prior to last season. Woods was impressive enough to secure a return invite to Jaguars camp this year after being released a year ago. The former Oklahoma State Cowboys star feels a little better about things this time around–

"It makes me a little more comfortable being around the guys. I'm finding my place and fitting in. That's one of the biggest things when you're a rookie free agent, finding your place. It's a lot easier now that I know the guys, they know me, they know my personality."

Will this year be different for D'Juan? Is he a better player? He thinks so.

"Rejection has a tendency to make you a little tougher," said Woods. "Once you get that out of your system you begin to work on things that make you a better person, and a better receiver."

That rejection that he felt has made Woods a better player.

"I have the type of attitude to where if I fail the first time I'm never going to give up," said Woods. "I'm just going to work hard at it and pray I get another shot. I was fortunate enough to get another shot, so I've got to make the most of it."

Woods has NFL bloodlines as his older brother, Rashaun, is a former first-round pick for the San Francisco 49ers. The elder Woods battled injuries throughout his NFL career, and was last seen playing in NFL Europe before the league went defunct a little over a year ago. Rashaun Woods has appeared to take the same career path as former Jaguars first-round pick Matt Jones, who D'Juan speaks highly of–

"Matt Jones is a beast. You talk about a guy that's going to snatch the ball and he's going to use his body size to just dominate on the field."

D'Juan believes that he can learn from the Jaguars 2005 first-round pick.

"Me being a stockier type of guy, and not a real fast type of quick guy, I want to try to equip that in my game. To go up over the top and grab the ball, instead of letting the ball fall down to me."

Woods has been one of the nice surprises of the Jaguars OTA's, as he has made a few highlight film type of plays, and has been one of the team's most consistent performers. Although D'Juan has played well, he is well aware that roster spots are not won in May and June.

D'Juan Woods is certainly behind the proverbial eight-ball in terms of winning a roster spot, due to his lack of draft pedigree, as well as the pedigree of the other wide receivers in camp with Matt Jones, Reggie Williams, and Troy Williamson all being first-round selections, and Jerry Porter and Dennis Northcutt being free agent signings. Still, Woods is trying to learn from the veterans he's competing with.

"We have a great group of wideouts," said Woods. "I pull a little bit from every wideout that we have, Dino (Northcutt) and Reggie and Matt. I just try to pull a little bit. When I see them do something, I just try to pull them to the side and say ‘what were you thinking when you did this?' If they let me know, that's pudding, that's great."

D'Juan is not concerned with the numbers at his position, nor should he be. In 2006, Jaguars running back Montell Owens was ninth on the Jaguars depth chart at running back, and he's found his way onto the active roster in each of the Jaguars games since.

"That's not my place (to figure out how many receivers the team will keep). They will do whatever they want to do, they might not even sign me," Woods joked.

D'Juan is determined to continue playing football, even if he's not a part of the Jaguars 53-man roster in 2008.

"I'm not sure what my backup plan is," said Woods. "I'm going to play somewhere. Regardless of where it is, even if it's a flag football game at the YMCA on Saturdays, it don't matter I'm going to play ball until my body says I can't play ball any longer."

With D'Juan Woods natural abilities and determination, he is likely to make someone's roster somewhere in the NFL. At the very least, he should be given the opportunity to make a practice squad.

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