Moments after the Dallas Cowboys fell to the Seattle Seahawks at home, one of the victorious members rushed towards the losing teams tunnel in an attempt to create interest in a partnership down the road.
Earl Thomas III, longtime member of the ‘Legion of Boom’ has made it no secret that unless he would be receiving a contract extension from Seattle, he would like to be on his way somewhere else. A native from the town of Orange, Texas, it was clear what team would be at the top of his list:
What you may have not noticed in that clip from the tunnel is the first year safety and sixth round draft pick Xavier Woods walking right behind Thomas and Jason Garrett. Woods was a favorite of the Cowboys management as the days led up to the NFL Draft a year ago, and the Cowboys were ecstatic to add him to the young defensive unit.
Fast forward to now, and the talks of “Earl Thomas to the Cowboys” have not settled done, but in fact have gained momentum. You wouldn’t know it by watching Woods and how he’s responded through it all though. While his minutes were limited early on, he really came on towards the last month or so of the 2017 season. Orlando Scandrick went down at around that time, and Woods and his fellow rookies from the 2017 Draft Class – Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie – stepped right in and won four out of the last 5 games of the season.
The difference this season is that Woods now steps in as the day one starter at free safety. Over the first few days of training camp, he’s made it clear that he doesn’t intend on letting that spot of his go.
Pads finally come on today. Jason Garrett asked for a player who took their game to another level once the pads came on in the past. … Xavier Woods. Garrett said he especially noticed Woods in preseason games. “That’s a good thing. You want to show up then.”
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) July 28, 2018
“I’m trying to give them a reason not to want anybody. That’s my point of view. I pay no attention to it. I just control what I can control. I have the starting role now, and I have no plan on giving it to anyone else.”
Woods is a flat out play-maker. He has incredible instincts and ball skills. He is constantly finding a way to get to the ball and can deliver the big blows necessary to play the free safety position.
New passing game coordinator and former Seahawks defensive coordinator, Kris Richard, recently gave his thoughts on the young free safety via The Dallas Morning News:
“He’s really smart. That’s the thing that stands out first and foremost about him. He picks stuff up really quick. He takes coaching points really well. He already has an idea how to simplify things in his mind, and it works for him.
“He’s fast, he’s bright, he’s got ball skills and he fits the profile.”
So while the whispers of Earl Thomas in Big D will most likely linger all the way into next off-season when Thomas is currently scheduled to hit the Free Agent market, one thing is clear:
Once Xavier Woods received that starting spot, it was his full intent on not giving it back – today or anytime soon.
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