JT Woods: Around 50% of snaps played, 3 interceptions
JT Woods became the last LA Chargers draft pick from the 2022 NFL Draft to sign his rookie contract on Tuesday and he has a lot of potential not only in his rookie season but beyond for the LA Chargers. It is no secret that Brandon Staley loves defensive backs who are athletic and can play coverage and that is exactly why the team selected Woods.
Cornerback seemed like a bigger need for the Chargers heading into the draft but taking a safety in the third round before taking a corner makes sense if the Chargers utilize him as expected. Derwin James is a swiss army knife on defense but the problem last season was a lack of safety depth.
In theory, drafting Woods allows James' game to open up even more, allowing him to take on the STAR role and not play as many snaps as a traditional two-high safety. Of course, James will still line up as a traditional safety but the defense is much more flexible now.
James is going to play just about every snap unless he is hurt or the Chargers are winning a game big in the fourth quarter. As long as Nasir Adderley stays healthy, he will be playing 85-90% of the defensive snaps as well. All that being said, there is still room for Woods to get about half of the defensive snaps next season, with most of those snaps coming on passing downs.
Woods definitely has some things to learn and has raw aspects of his game but where he thrives is in being a ball-hawk and utilizing his great athleticism. With so much talent around him, Woods is going to get the chance to showcase those ball-hawk abilities and will add a much-needed turnover presence to the team.
Three interceptions may not seem like a lot but for a third-round pick who is playing just 50% of his snaps in year one, that is fantastic. There will be more pass breakups as well.