JT Woods hails from San Antonio, Texas where he played at nearby Steele High School as a two-way player. He helped lead his team to 23-7 record across his junior and senior season while totaling 123 tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack, and one interception on defense. Rated as the 55th-ranked safety in the country by ESPN and a three-star recruit, Woods decided to stay in Texas by committing to play for the Baylor Bears.
As a true freshman, Woods saw the field in all 13 games, finishing with 18 total tackles, one tackle for loss, and two pass breakups. He earned the first five starts of his career as a sophomore in 2019 and pushed his production to 36 tackles with three forced fumbles.
During the abbreviated 2020 season, Woods started all of the team’s nine contests and was named an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection after putting up 36 tackles, three interceptions, and a pass breakup.
Woods capped his Baylor career with a big-time season in 2021 as he ended up leading the Big 12 with six interceptions to go with 57 total tackles. His efforts once again earned him honorable mention all-conference honors and an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
After a strong performance in the all-star showcase, including a game-sealing interception, Woods was selected by the Chargers in the third round of the 2022 NFL draft. As a rookie, Woods saw time in 10 games with one start and finished the year with three tackles.
Years with team: 1
“JT Woods signed a 4 year, $5,276,442 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $1,017,412 signing bonus, $1,017,412 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $1,319,111. In 2023, Woods will earn a base salary of $944,838, while carrying a cap hit of $1,199,191 and a dead cap value of $763,059.” - Spotrac.com
The Chargers reached a bit on Woods due to his elite athleticism combined with solid physical traits. He’s taller at 6’2 and a bit slender at 193 but his potential to be a rangy ballhawk on the back end playing off safety-mate Derwin James likely spurred on the team to grab him where they did. His 4.38 in the 40 at the NFL Combine wasn’t too shabby, either.
Woods was the team’s second-highest draft pick in 2022 after they traded away their second-rounder in the deal for Khalil Mack. Unfortunately, Woods barely saw the field in his first year due to being a massive liability as a tackler. In the very first preseason game of 2022, Woods missed a sure tackle on the sideline by not wrapping up which allowed a Rams receiver to stroll into the end zone without much effort. When he saw time on defense during the regular season, he allowed another long touchdown when he tried to throw a shoulder into DeAndre Hopkins who simply spun off of it before finding the end zone.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2023?
Woods is one of the team’s top four safeties and will be looked upon to play more snaps in year two if the team continues to be content with their safety room. 2022 UDFA Raheem Layne also fought for some snaps towards the end of last year and I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that Woods will have some form of competition from Layne in this year’s training camp.