Dallas Cowboys: This third-year defensive tackle is showing up in practices
With the Dallas Cowboys starting defensive tackles missing training camp, it has opened up an opportunity for this third-year defender to shine.
One of the major areas of concern for the Dallas Cowboys entering training camp had to be the interior of their defensive line.
When camp started at the end of July, it was revealed that starting defensive tackle David Irving would miss all of training camp due to his off-the-field issues. Irving is already slated to miss the first four games of the regular season due to a suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. It’s his second four-game suspension in as many years.
The Cowboys other primary starter at defensive tackle, Maliek Collins, is still recovering from a broken foot he suffered back in May. Collins started training camp on the active/PUP list and it is unclear when he might return.
The absence of both Irving and Collins has opened the door for other prospects at the position to get additional snaps and an opportunity to impress the Cowboys’ coaching staff. One player who is apparently doing just that as of late is third-year defensive tackle, Antwaun Woods.
According to DallasCowboys.com’s football analyst Bryan Broaddus, Woods has been running with the first-team defense at training camp in Oxnard and recently gave the team’s All-Pro center all he could handle.
"“Give Antwaun Woods some credit. It’s not easy to put Travis Frederick in a poor blocking position — but he did. Woods, who received snaps with the first-team defense, got lower than Frederick and was able to drive him back with power."
After that play, Frederick apparently said something to Woods that sparked a fight between the offensive and defensive lines. Seeing that kind of fire from a young defender can be seen as a positive as one area fans have been clamoring for is more nastiness from the entire defense. The extracurriculars aside, Woods seems to be making the most out of his opportunity to shine with starters Irving and Collins missing training camp.
During a press conference over the weekend, head coach Jason Garrett talked about the young 6-foot-1, 318-pound defensive tackle, saying he’s showing up in practices and has earned himself more snaps. Garrett went on to call Woods a disruptor in both the run and passing game. But he also pointed out that the young defender needs to “keep it going”.
The 25-year old Woods joined the Cowboys in late May after spending the first two years of his NFL career primarily on the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad. In fact, Woods has played in just one regular season game, recording three tackles in 17 defensive snaps.
Woods went undrafted out of USC back in 2016. He was the starting nose tackle for the Trojans for three years, earning himself First Team All-Pac 12 honors as a senior. That season he posted 41 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks.
In Dallas, Antwaun Woods has an opportunity to earn himself a significant role at a real position of need for the Cowboys. It’s not hard to imagine Woods starting alongside Maliek Collins Week One of the regular season if he continues to impress.