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Cowboys 2017 Draft Picks: Scouting Report On Sixth-Round Pick Xavier Woods

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A scouting report on the Cowboys sixth-round selection, Lousiana Tech safety, Xavier Woods.

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NCAA Football: R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl-Arkansas State vs Louisiana Tech Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys had their sights set on a safety so they pulled off a trade to get it done. The Cowboys traded away their 2018 fifth-round pick to the New York Jets so they could select Xaiver Woods with the 191st overall pick. Dallas had done a great job revamping the secondary, but was still missing a safety. That is no more. Woods was the last player remaining of the Cowboys pre-draft visits and is exceptional value at this point in the draft. Dallas will have some extra draft stock in next year’s draft with expected compensatory picks so this is a great use of resources.

The Cowboys get an athletic safety with great quickness. He has great vision and displays the patience to attack at the right moment. Woods exhibits great ball skills, tracking the ball well when it is in the air. He has 14 career picks and 18 passes defended. And he has no problem laying the wood on the ball carrier and knows how to time it right to avoid roughing penalties.

Here is what our friends over at Hogs Haven had to say about him:

Xavier Woods is one of the most underrated safeties in this draft class. The senior plays with great range and aggression. Woods is considered undersized but packs a lot of power in his frame. He is unafraid to come up to the line of scrimmage in run support or light up a receiver trying to make a catch. Woods has the athleticism and skill set to play both safety positions but because of his proficient tackling may be preferred by NFL teams as a strong safety. Woods is also praised for his leadership, accountability and work ethic by his coaches. Woods played at the East-West Shrine game and could have a chance to show how he tests against top talent and rise up draft boards if he receives a combine invitation. If he played in a power 5 conference I am certain he would have gotten more recognition by now.

Here are his highlights:

Here is the scouting report from Lance Zierlein of NFL.com:

STRENGTHS

Ball skills are a plus. From high safety, tracks the ball the moment it comes out of quarterback's hands. Understands when he can undercut routes and has sticky hands to bring the ball in. Plays with above average instincts that have him primed to swoop into a passing lane. Drives hard on the route as soon as quarterback begins windup. Considers the ball his birthright. Always looking to make a play and is often successful. Has ridiculous ball production over last three seasons with fourteen interceptions and five forced fumbles. Can bring the wood as a hitter and has talent for timing hit to jar the ball loose from receivers. Good tackle production despite being moved around the field.

WEAKNESSES

Size is a little below average for the position. Better hitter than tackler. Needs to fine-tune tackle fundamentals to eliminate misses in space. Slow to change direction. Lacks reactive athleticism and quickness for desired recovery ability. Backpedal is upright and little rigid. Tightness through his hips limits stride length and agility in space. Can be slow to range from the hash to the boundary against deep ball unless he gets a head-start. Will bust coverage looking to make a play. Gets caught guessing and can be manipulated and moved by quarterback glances. Will have to learn to play with better discipline.

Here is the scouting report from Pro Football Focus:

What he does best:

Very physical in man coverage; has experience in man coverage vs. the slot and is very willing to mix it up.

Ran the fastest safety 3-cone at the combine (6.72), and his change of direction ability is evident on film when he is in control and over his feet.

Flashes good range, awareness from deep safety position; ran a solid 4.54 40 at combine.

Recovered from a rough 2015 to give up receptions on just 27 of 47 throws into his area; QB rating against in 2016 was 58.4.

From free safety position does an excellent job of reading QB and adjusting his track; looks very comfortable in centerfield.

Attacks downhill, can deliver huge hits to dislodge ball on passes in front.

Biggest concern:

Struggles to recover effectively when he loses a step in transition.

Can lose track of targets in zone coverage, especially when aligned in the box.

Gave up 12 TDs on throws into his coverage between 2014 and 2016; appears to gamble too often going for the big hit or breakup.

30 missed tackles in three seasons; can break down in space and finish, but at times will get too aggressive with his angles or stop his feet at the tackle point.

Here are his measurables courtesy of mockdraftable:

The Cowboys got some fresh new toys to play with on defense this year.

What do you think about the Xavier Woods pick?