Did The Dallas Cowboys Strike Gold In The 6th Round Again? ⋆
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Did The Dallas Cowboys Strike Gold In The 6th Round Again?

2017 Cowboys Draft Target: Louisiana Tech S Xavier Woods

NFL Draft

Did The Dallas Cowboys Strike Gold In The 6th Round Again?

Did The Dallas Cowboys Strike Gold In The 6th Round Again?

One of the more difficult things for NFL teams to accomplish is finding players late in the NFL Draft to not only contribute early, but to develop into starters down the road. The Dallas Cowboys are no exception, but they have recently been able to find late round gems. This is especially true in the 6th round, because it looks as if they have struck gold once again in back to back drafts.

The Dallas Cowboys 2016 draft class was simply phenomenal last season and could turn out to be one the best in the history of the franchise. Lost in the shuffle because of all of the attention Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott received, is the outstanding play of the Cowboys 6th round draft pick Anthony Brown.

Not much was expected from Brown as a rookie, but due to injuries he ended up having to start nine games in his first year in the NFL for Dallas. He was a bright spot for the Cowboys’ secondary and finished the season with 55 tackles, eight passes defensed, one interception, and one forced fumble.

Brown is looking to build on his rookie success in 2017 and is likely competing for a starting job at one of the outside cornerback positions. I know it’s still a little early to predict the trajectory his career will take, but when you think about what he has already accomplished, he looks like a 6th round steal.

CB Anthony BrownAnthony Brown certainly looks like the real deal, which is definitely hard to find from a player selected on Day 3 of the NFL Draft. But, the Dallas Cowboys may have struck gold once again in the 6th round in 2017 with the selection of former Louisiana Tech safety, Xavier Woods.

To say that the Dallas Cowboys lucked into making Xavier Woods a member of the team is an understatement. Woods was one of the Cowboys’ 30 pre-draft visitors and someone they thought very highly of. So, to see him still sitting there in the 6th round was a temptation they simply couldn’t pass up.

The Dallas Cowboys decided to trade a future 2018 5th round draft pick to the New York Jets in order to draft Xavier Woods 191st overall. By the way, that’s just two selections after the Cowboys drafted Anthony Brown (189th overall) the year before.

I don’t know about any of you, but I was really hoping the Cowboys would trade up in the fifth round to secure Woods’ services, so to get him in the 6th round was simply amazing. I actually have high expectations for Woods, but I just don’t know how much of an impact he can have as a rookie.

Woods has the talent to become a starting safety in the NFL. His extremely aggressive and plays with a fearlessness in both the running and passing game. He has excellent ball skills and always seems to be around the ball making plays. Those are definitely attributes the Cowboys’ secondary can use.

Unfortunately, Woods is buried on the depth chart at the safety position. Byron Jones is without a doubt the starting free safety and it is starting to look like Jeff Heath has locked down the starting spot opposite Jones. So, barring some unforeseen injury (heaven forbid), Woods is going to have a hard time seeing a lot of playing time in his first year in the NFL.

Xavier Woods still has training camp to make a case for himself in order to earn playing time in 2017, but it is an uphill battle. Woods is likely to play the role of a core special teams player as a rookie, but I could see the scenario where he earns a rotational role at safety this season.

Even though Xavier Woods might not have the same type of impact Anthony Brown did as a rookie for the Cowboys doesn’t mean Dallas didn’t strike gold once again in the 6th round. Woods might just take a little longer to prove himself.

Do you think the Cowboys struck 6th round gold once again?

Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

7 Comments
  • Travis Diggs

    I think the cowboys found a gem in the 6 round again. I believe while most cowboys think Jeff Heath is the” #GOAT”, I think Xavier Woods could be the enforcer that makes teams respect this secondary. He might not start right away but it wont take too long for staff to see this guy

    • Brian Martin

      Travis, I don’t really see Xavier Woods as an enforcer. I actually think Jeff Heath is more of an enforcer. I think Woods is more athletic and rangy, with better ball skills. I don’t think he’s going to start right away, but I think he’s going to earn playing time as a rookie and to be in some type of rotation with Heath. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      • Travis Diggs

        From seeing his college tape after they got him in the draft, all i see is big hits and him all over the field. Jeff heath as a enforcer is a typical Jeff Heath cowboys fans GOAT thing!? What game can anybody name that would make us believe that Heath would be the enforcer…I’ll wait….???I remember a blind side hit in a seattle game that almost paralyzed a guy, thats about it. I’ve seen ints, but nothing for me to believe he’s an a enforcer type player offenses game plan for. Maybe woods isnt that guy but we need somebody that can come down an smack guys and make the league respect a defense no one is afraid of

        • Brian Martin

          Heath hasn’t really been asked to play around the scrimmage as much, but I see what you’re getting at. The concern I have with Woods as an enforcer is his size. He’s only about 5’11”, 200 pounds, which is a little on the smallish size. He plays with a recklessness when tackling, so injuries could become a concern. And I would much rather have two interchangeable safeties than a true free safety and a strong safety/enforcer type. I just think the defense benefit so much more from interchangeable safeties, but that’s just me.

          • John Williams

            I think the enforcer idea of a player is a bit overrated, especially with the rule changes the league has made to limit the hits on defenseless receivers.

            While JJ Wilcox and Roy Williams (the safety) made big hits, they also got beat a lot going for the big hit.

            I’d rather have a guy who can hit, but is more concerned with make the sure tackle.

            Not saying Woods will be this guy, but he reminds me a lot of Darren Woodson, though Woody was probably a bigger player.

            They both have the ability to cover multiple positions (Tight end, running back, slot receiver) as well as play cover two or three zone.

            Regardless, even if Woods is a rotational player and special teamer, it’s still a solid sixth round pick.

            Brian is right, with the depth that this team has in the secondary, Woods’ snaps are going to have to be earned.

  • Assassin

    Thought for sure X would go in the late 3rd or 4th round. I was screaming at the TV for Dallas to grab him… cannot believe he lasted to 6.

    I think he will end up being the box safety, not free. Athletic limitations will limit that. While the guy can INT the ball, he does go for broke a bit too much, not what you want your last line of D to do. Has limitations in space. the closer he can get to the action, the better

    • Assassin

      Wonder if he could backup the slot CB too?

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