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Wesley Woodyard Jr. (born July 21, 1986) is an American football linebacker for the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League (NFL). He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Denver Broncos in 2008. He played college football for the University of Kentucky.

Wesley Woodyard
refer to caption
Woodyard with the Tennessee Titans in 2018
No. 59 – Tennessee Titans
Position:Linebacker
Personal information
Born: (1986-07-21) July 21, 1986 (age 33)
LaGrange, Georgia
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:233 lb (106 kg)
Career information
High school:LaGrange (GA)
College:Kentucky
Undrafted:2008
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 5, 2019
Total tackles:919
Sacks:27.0
Pass deflections:30
Interceptions:8
Forced fumbles:7
Defensive touchdowns:2
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

High school careerEdit

Woodyard was born in LaGrange, Georgia and attended LaGrange High School. He was named the Georgia Class AAA Defensive Player of the Year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was first-team all-state as a senior by the Georgia Sportswriters Association and the Journal-Constitution. As a four-year letterman and two-year starter at outside linebacker, the team posted a 51-3 record during his three seasons, winning a pair of state championships.

College careerEdit

As a freshman in 2004, Woodyard played in the first 10 games and midway through the season, he switched from strong safety to inside linebacker. He recorded 34 tackles for the season and was selected for the Freshman All-SEC Team by SEC coaches. As a sophomore in 2005, he started all 11 games at linebacker. For the season he recorded 100 tackles, seven for-a-loss and four fumble recoveries. He was named second-team Sophomore All-American and All-SEC Honorable mention.

As a junior in 2006, Woodyard started all 13 games at linebacker, leading the team with 122 tackles and tackles-for-loss with 9.5. For the season he earned Defensive MVP honors in the Music City Bowl. As a senior in 2007, he started all 13 games at linebacker, leading the team with 139 tackles. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

Professional careerEdit

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad
6 ft 1 in
(1.85 m)
219 lb
(99 kg)
4.51 s 1.52 s 2.58 s 4.25 s 7.15 s 30 in
(0.76 m)
9 ft 10 in
(3.00 m)
All values are from NFL Combine[1]

Denver BroncosEdit

On April 29, 2008, the Denver Broncos signed Woodyard to a three-year, $1.17 million contract that included a $20,000 signing bonus after he went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft.[2][3]

2008 season: Rookie yearEdit

Throughout training camp, Woodyard competed for a job as an outside linebacker against Boss Bailey, Nate Webster, Jamie Winborn, Louis Green, Jordan Beck, and Spencer Larsen.[4] Head coach Mike Shanahan named Woodyard the backup weakside linebacker behind D. J. Williams to start the regular season.

Woodyard made his NFL debut in the season-opener at the Oakland Raiders and recorded a solo tackle during the 41–14 victory. On November 6, 2008, Woodyard earned his first NFL start in place of D. J. Williams who sustained a knee injury.[5] He finished the 34–30 victory at the Cleveland Browns with a season-high ten combined tackles. On December 31, 2008, the Denver Broncos fired Mike Shanahan after the Broncos finished with an 8–8 record and did not qualify for the playoffs.[6] Woodyard finished his rookie season with 55 combined tackles (47 solo) and a pass deflection in 16 games and six starts.[7]

2009 seasonEdit

The Broncos new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan opted to convert to a base 3-4 defense, using four linebackers instead of three. Woodyard competed against Mario Haggan, Braxton Kelley, and Lee Robinson for a roster spot as a backup inside linebacker.[8] Head coach Josh McDaniels named Woodyard the backup inside linebacker behind D. J. Williams and Andra Davis to start the regular season.[9] On September 10, Woodyard was named the special teams captain by his teammates for the 2009 season.[10]

On September 13, Woodyard recorded three combined tackles, broke up a pass, and intercepted a pass by quarterback Carson Palmer as the Broncos won 12–7 at the Cincinnati Bengals.[11] In Week 9, he collected a season-high eight combined tackles during a 28–10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.[12] Woodyard finished his second NFL season with 44 combined tackles (32 solo), two pass deflections, and an interception in 16 games and 16 starts.[7]

2010 seasonEdit

Throughout training camp, Woodyard competed for a job as a backup inside linebacker against Akin Ayodele, Joe Mays, and Nick Greisen.[13] Josh McDaniels named him the backup inside linebacker behind D. J. Williams and Joe Mays.[14]

Woodyard was a healthy scratch for the Broncos' Week 2 victory against the Seattle Seahawks. On September 20, Woodyard was featured in a press conference held by the Broncos after their wide receiver Kenny McKinley committed suicide the day prior.[15] He was inactive for their Week 4 victory at the Tennessee Titans after sustaining a hamstring injury.[16] Woodyard also missed three consecutive games (Weeks 6-8) after he aggravated his hamstring injury.[17] On November 14, 2010, Woodyard earned his first career start and recorded two solo tackles during a 49–29 win against the Kansas City Chiefs. On December 6, the Broncos fired McDaniels after they lost at the Kansas City Chiefs and fell to a 3-9 record.[18] In Week 16, he made his second NFL start and collected a season-high nine combined tackles in the Broncos' 24–23 win against the Houston Texans. The following week, Woodyard recorded five solo tackles and made his first NFL sack on quarterback Philip Rivers during the Broncos' 33–28 loss to the San Diego Chargers.[19] Woodyard finished the 2010 season with 37 combined tackles (33 solo) and one sack in 11 games and three starts.[20]

2011 seasonEdit

On July 29, 2011, the Broncos signed Woodyard to a one-year, $1.85 million contract.[2] He was voted as the special teams captain for the third consecutive year. Woodyard competed against D. J. Wiiliams, Lee Robinson, and Braxton Kelley for the role as the starting weakside linebacker. He was moved to outside linebacker after new Broncos' defensive coordinator Don Martindale opted to switch to a base 4-3 defense. Head coach John Fox named Woodyard the starting weakside linebacker to start the regular season after D. J. Williams suffered a dislocated elbow and was projected to miss 3-4 games.[21]

On September 18, 2011, Woodyard recorded a season-high 13 combined tackles (ten solo) and broke up a pass during their 24–22 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals. The following week, he collected a ten combined tackles (seven solo) during a 17–14 loss at the Tennessee Titans. He was demoted back to backup outside linebacker after Williams returned from injury in Week 5. Woodyard missed the Broncos' Week 10 victory at the Kansas City Chiefs after he sustained a shoulder injury the previous week. He finished the 2011 season with 97 combined tackles (67 solo) and two pass deflections in 15 games and seven starts.

2012 seasonEdit

 
Woodyard in 2012

On May 19, 2012, the Denver Broncos signed Woodyard to a two-year, $3.5 million contract.[22] Woodyard entered training camp slated as the starting weakside linebacker after D. J. Williams was suspended for six games for failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs.[23] He faced minor competition from Danny Trevathan, Cyril Obiozor, and Mike Mohamed.[24]

Woodyard started the Broncos' season-opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers and recorded a career-high 12 solo tackles and sacked Ben Roethlisberger during their 31–19 victory. On October 28, 2012, Woodyard collected a season-high 13 combined tackles (nine solo), two pass deflections, a sack, and intercepted a pass by Drew Brees during the Broncos' 34–14 win against the New Orleans Saints.[25] The following week, Woodyard recorded a season-high 14 combined tackles (four solo) in the Broncos' 31–23 win at the Cincinnati Bengals. Woodyard was inactive for the Broncos' Week 14 victory at the Oakland Raiders due to an ankle injury he sustained the previous game.[26] In Week 16, he collected eight combined tackles and a season-high 1.5 sacks as Denver defeated the Cleveland Browns 34–12.[27] He finished the 2012 season with a career-high 117 combined tackles (73 solo), six pass deflections, 5.5 sacks, and a career-high three interceptions in 15 games and 14 starts.[7]

The Broncos finished the 2012 season atop the AFC West with a 13-3 record, clinching a playoff berth and first-round bye. On January 12, 2013, Woodyard started in his first NFL playoff game and recorded seven solo tackles in the Broncos' 38-35 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional round.

2013 seasonEdit

Woodyard entered training camp slated as the starting weakside linebacker. On August 20, 2013, starting strongside linebacker Von Miller was suspended for the first six games for violating the league's substance abuse policy.[28] Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio shifted middle linebacker Nate Irving to Miller's strongside linebacker position and had Woodyard take over as the middle linebacker. Head coach John Fox officially named Woodyard the starting middle linebacker to start the regular season, along with outside linebackers Nate Irving and Danny Trevathan.[29]

Woodyard suffered a neck injury during the Broncos' Week 5 win at the Dallas Cowboys and was unable to play in the next two games (Weeks 6–7).[30] On November 24, 2013, Woodyard recorded a season-high 15 combined tackles (seven solo) during a 34–31 loss at the New England Patriots. The following week, he collected five solo tackles, broke up a pass, and intercepted a pass by Alex Smith during their 35–28 victory at the Kansas City Chiefs. After a string of poor performances, Woodyard was benched in favor of veteran Paris Lenon for the last four games of the season.[31] He finished the 2013 season with 84 combined tackles (48 solo), four pass deflections, 1.5 sacks, and an interception in 14 games and ten starts.[7] The Broncos selected him for the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for 2013.[32]

The Denver Broncos finished atop the AFC West with a 13-3 record, clinching a first round and home-field advantage. They went on to Super Bowl XLVIII after they defeated the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Divisional round and the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship. On February 2, 2014, Woodyard made three combined tackles as the Broncos were routed 43-8 to the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.[33]

2014 seasonEdit

Woodyard became an unrestricted free agent in 2014 and attended visits with the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans, while also receiving interest from the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens. He stated his original intent was to stay with the Broncos, but he did not receive a contract offer from them.[34]

Tennessee TitansEdit

On March 14, 2014, the Tennessee Titans signed Woodyard to a four-year, $15.75 million contract that included $4.75 million guaranteed and a $3 million signing bonus.[2][35]

2014 seasonEdit

Head coach Ken Whisenhunt named Woodyard the starting left inside linebacker opposite Zaviar Gooden and along with outside linebackers Kamerion Wimbley and Derrick Morgan.[36]

Woodyard made his Titans debut in their season-opener at the Kansas City Chiefs and recorded five solo tackles and sacked Alex Smith during a 26–10 victory. On September 27, 2014, Woodyard recorded a season-high nine combined tackles, broke up two passes, and intercepted a pass by Andrew Luck during their 41–17 loss at the Indianapolis Colts. He finished the 2014 season with 94 combined tackles (53 solo), three pass deflections, 2.5 sacks, and two interceptions in 16 games and 16 starts.[7]

2015 seasonEdit

Throughout training camp, Woodyard competed against Avery Williamson, Zach Brown, and Zaviar Gooden for a job as the starting inside linebacker.[37] Head coach Ken Whisenhunt named Woodyard the backup inside linebacker behind Avery Williamson and Zach Brown to start the regular season.[38]

In Week 2, Woodyard made two solo tackles, sacked quarterback Johnny Manziel, and forced a fumble in a 28–14 loss at the Cleveland Browns.[39] He was promoted to the starting lineup ahead of Zach Brown prior to the Titans' Week 4 matchup against the Buffalo Bills.[40] On October 18, 2015, Woodyard recorded a season-high ten combined tackles (eight solo) and sacked quarterback Ryan Tannehill during the Titans' 38–10 loss to the Miami Dolphins. On November 4, 2015, the Titans fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt after they fell to a 1–6 record. Tight ends coach Mike Mularkey was named the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.[41] Woodyard finished the 2015 season with 87 combined tackles (54 solo) and five sacks in 16 games and 14 starts.[7]

2016 seasonEdit

Woodyard entered training camp slated as the starting left inside linebacker after Zach Brown departed for the Buffalo Bills in free agency. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau named Woodyard the starting inside linebacker with Avery Williamson and outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan.[42]

In Week 12, Woodyard recorded five solo tackles, a career-high three pass deflections, and intercepted a pass by Jay Cutler during a 27-21 victory at the Chicago Bears. On January 1, 2017, he collected a season-high six combined tackles in a 24-17 victory against the Houston Texans.[43] He finished the season with 57 combined tackles (42 solo), five pass deflections, two sacks, and an interception in 16 games and ten starts.[7] He shared time with Sean Spence who started the other six games in place of Woodyard.

2017 seasonEdit

On March 15, 2017, the Titans signed Woodyard to a three-year, $10.5 million extension that includes $2 million guaranteed.[2][44]

Head coach Mike Mularkey named Woodyard the starting inside linebacker after Sean Spence departed for the Indianapolis Colts in free agency. On November 5, 2017, Woodyard recorded a season-high 14 combined tackles (nine solo) and broke up a pass during the Titans' 23-20 win against the Baltimore Ravens. In Week 15, he collected ten combined tackles (seven solo) and a sack in a 25-23 loss at the San Francisco 49ers.[45] Woodyard finished the 2017 season with a career-high 124 combined tackles (84 solo), five pass deflections, and five sacks in 16 games and 16 starts.[7] Pro Football Focus gave Woodyard an overall grade of 78.6, which gave him the 28th highest grade among all qualified linebackers in 2017.[46]

2018 seasonEdit

On November 11, 2018, in a 34-10 Week 10 victory over the New England Patriots, Woodyard registered 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks. This effort earned him AFC Defensive Player of the Week.[47] Woodyard finished the 2018 season with 113 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and two pass deflections.

NFL statisticsEdit

Regular seasonEdit

Year Team Games Tackling Fumbles Interceptions
GP GS Comb Total Ast Sack FF FR Yds TD Int Yds Avg Lng TD PD
2008 DEN 16 6 55 47 8 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2009 DEN 16 0 46 38 8 0.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2
2010 DEN 11 3 24 20 4 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2011 DEN 15 7 90 60 30 0.0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
2012 DEN 15 14 114 70 44 5.5 1 1 12 0 3 40 13.3 25 0 6
2013 DEN 14 10 91 52 39 1.5 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4
2014 TEN 16 16 94 53 41 2.5 0 0 0 0 2 20 10.0 13 0 3
2015 TEN 16 12 84 51 33 5.0 1 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
2016 TEN 16 10 53 39 14 2.0 0 0 0 0 1 21 21.0 21 0 5
2017 TEN 16 16 121 81 40 5.0 0 2 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 5
2018 TEN 14 14 113 69 44 4.5 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Career 165 108 867 558 309 27.0 7 5 19 2 8 81 10.1 25 0 30

PostseasonEdit

Year Team Games Tackling Fumbles Interceptions
GP GS Comb Total Ast Sack FF FR Yds TD Int Yds Avg Lng TD PD
2011 DEN 2 0 1 1 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2012 DEN 1 1 7 7 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2013 DEN 3 0 7 4 3 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2017 TEN 2 2 16 8 8 0.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Career 8 3 31 20 11 0.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Personal lifeEdit

Woodyard is a Christian.[48][49] He and his wife, Veronica,[50] have four kids.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "NFL Draft Profile: Wesley Woodyard". NFL.com. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Spotrac.com: Wesley Woodyard contract". Spotrac.com. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  3. ^ "2009 Denver Broncos - Breaking Down the Roster - The Linebackers". milehighreport.com. July 25, 2009. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  4. ^ "2008 Denver Broncos – Training Camp Preview – Defense". broncotalk.net. July 26, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  5. ^ Turner, Jamie (November 4, 2008). "Broncos' Roster Breakdown". cleveland.com. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  6. ^ "Broncos fire Shanahan after 14 seasons as head coach". ESPN.com. December 31, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "NFL Player stats: Wesley Woodyard (career)". NFL.com. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  8. ^ Bedinger, Sayre (June 1, 2009). "Denver Broncos Linebacker Wesley Woodyard "Bulking Up" For New Role". bleacherreport.com. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  9. ^ "Ourlads.com: Denver Broncos' Depth Chart: 09/06/2009". Ourlads.com. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  10. ^ Bedinger, Sayre (September 10, 2009). "Denver Broncos Name Seven Team Captains For 2009 Season". BleacherReport.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  11. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 1-2008: Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals". NFL.com. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  12. ^ "NFL Player stats: Wesley Woodyard (2009)". NFL.com. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  13. ^ Stapleton, Arnie (August 25, 2010). "Broncos feel better about themselves". chieftain.com. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  14. ^ "Ourlads.com: Denver Broncos' Depth Chart: 09/05/2010". Ourlads.com. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  15. ^ Stapleton, Arnie (September 21, 2010). "Detectives: McKinley spoke of suicide". sandiegouniontribune.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  16. ^ Jones, Lindsay (October 1, 2010). "Special teams unit hurt by injuries". blogs.denverpost.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  17. ^ "NFL: Broncos dealing with more injuries". staugustine.com. October 12, 2010. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  18. ^ Klis, Mike (December 6, 2010). "McDaniels fired as Broncos coach after controversy, losses pile up". Denverpost.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  19. ^ "NFL Player stats: Wesley Woodyard (career)". NFL.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  20. ^ "NFL Player stats: Wesley Woodyard (career)". NFL.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  21. ^ Klis, Mike (August 27, 2011). "D.J. Williams out 3-4 Weeks with a dislocated elbow". blogs.denverpost.com.
  22. ^ Silva, Evan (March 19, 2012). "Broncos keep Wesley Woodyard on two-year deal". NBCSports.com. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  23. ^ Ingold, John (July 11, 2012). "Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams flunked second doping test, court documents say". blogs.denverpost.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  24. ^ Everett, Tyler (July 28, 2012). "Woodyard, Mays leading the charge". denverbroncos.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  25. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 8-2012: New Orleans Saints @ Denver Broncos". NFL.com. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
  26. ^ Crabtree, Curtis. "Richard Seymour, Wesley Woodyard out for Thursday night". profootballtalk.nbcsports.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  27. ^ "NFL Player stats: Wesley Woodyard (2012)". NFL.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  28. ^ Rosenthal, Greg (August 20, 2013). "Von Miller suspended six games by NFL". NFL.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  29. ^ "Ourlads.com: Denver Broncos Depth Chart: 09/05/2013". Ourlads.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  30. ^ Mello, Igor (October 6, 2013). "Wesley Woodyard dealing with shoulder injury". cbssports.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  31. ^ Jones, Lindsay (December 11, 2013). "Inconsistent Broncos defense searches for right mix". usatoday.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  32. ^ Zaas, Stuart (November 27, 2013). "Woodyard Named Broncos' Walter Payton Man of the Year". DenverBroncos.com. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  33. ^ "NFL Player stats: Wesley Woodyard (2013)". NFL.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  34. ^ Klis, Mike (April 27, 2014). "Eric Decker visiting with New York Jets as free-agent receiver". DenverPost.com. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
  35. ^ "Wesley Woodyard, Tennessee Titans sign $16M deal".
  36. ^ "Ourlads.com: Tennessee Titans Depth Chart: 10/01/2014". Ourlads.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  37. ^ "Projected 2015 starters: Tennessee Titans". NFL.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  38. ^ "Ourlads.com: Tennessee Titans Depth Chart: 09/01/2015". Ourlads.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  39. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 2-2015: Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns". NFL.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  40. ^ Glennon, John (October 15, 2015). "Titans' Zach Brown disappointed by demotion". tennessean.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  41. ^ Kuharsky, Paul (March 4, 2015). "Titans fire coach Ken Whisenhunt". ESPN.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  42. ^ "Ourlads.com: Tennessee Titans Depth Chart: 09/01/2016". Ourlads.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  43. ^ "NFL Player stats: Wesley Woodyard (2016)". NFL.com. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  44. ^ Alper, Josh (March 15, 2017). "Wesley Woodyard cuts 2017 pay, adds two years to deal". ProFootballTalk.NBCSports.com.
  45. ^ "NFL Player stats: Wesley Woodyard (2017)". NFL.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  46. ^ "Pro Football Focus: Wesley Woodyard". ProFootballFocus.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  47. ^ Wyatt, Jim (November 14, 2018). "Titans LB Wesley Woodyard Named AFC Defensive Player of the Week". TitansOnline.com. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  48. ^ "Whitehead: How I met my fiance, Wesley Woodyard".
  49. ^ "Wesley Woodyard".
  50. ^ "wooddro52".

External linksEdit