I was perusing NFL.com, scouring for something interesting to discuss during the doldrums of the NFL offseason and I stumbled across an article listing the top five players over 35 years of age. Woodson ranked second behind Tom Brady (who doesn’t turn 35 until August). Here’s what they had to say:
It is not often that a player performs better during the twilight of his career, but that is the case with Woodson. He has amassed 37 of his 54 career interceptions over the past six seasons (including seven picks in 2011), cementing his status as one of the premier defenders in the NFL. Woodson’s rare ball skills and awareness are also reflected in his ability to force fumbles with timely strips and punch outs on the perimeter. He simply attacks the football with a passion, and the Packers have become one of the league’s top takeaway teams due to his presence in the back end.
Woodson’s all-around excellence is quite remarkable, considering his deteriorating speed and athleticism. He is no longer the superior athlete capable of blanketing elite receivers on the edge, but his wisdom and exceptional football IQ allow him to thrive as a hybrid safety/nickel back capable of blitzing off the edge or dropping into coverage. Given his versatility and overall impact, Woodson deserves to be ranked as one of the top veteran players in the league.
I’m not sure that Woodson would appreciate being labeled over-the-hill with “deteriorating speed”, but it’s pretty clear that Woodson is no longer the elite cover corner he once was. Now, he’s a ball hawking safety/linebacker/nickel back. I fully expect Woodson to play out the remainder of his contract (free agent in 2015), perhaps sign a two year deal, and then ride off into the sunset as one of the best defensive backs in NFL history. Only one question remains, will he transition full time to safety?
Post by @PackerInsanity