The Chargers selected safety JT Woods in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft. After not having a pick in the second round due to the Khalil Mack trade, it was imperative that the Chargers selected someone who could make a difference in Brandon Staley's defense.
With Woods, the team was very obviously playing the long game. Woods was viewed as a developmental prospect and that played out during his first season in the league. Woods simply was not NFL-ready and got very little NFL action in his rookie season.
The hope now is that with a year of experience under his belt, he can utilize his great athleticism to make a difference on the defensive side of the ball. With safety relatively thin, the Chargers may really need Woods to make this kind of impact.
There is potentially a huge opportunity for Woods to play a big role in this Chargers' defense if Alohi Gilman's current injury ends up being serious. That would thrust Woods into the starting secondary and he cannot be the weak link that bogs the entire operation down.
Woods does not need a big game in Week 2 of the preseason to secure his spot on the roster. That is guaranteed. But he needs a big game to increase his confidence and make his coaches (and the fanbase) confident that he can play a bigger role in this defense in 2023.