Dallas Cowboys: 5 midseason breakout candidates
Xavier Woods, Safety
For most of the season so far, second-year defensive back Xavier Woods had to endure the constant talk about a possible trade for his replacement, All-Pro Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas.
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But that trade talk vanished when Thomas broke his left leg during a Week Four matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.
Since then, Woods has been doing his job and playing under the radar. After missing the Cowboys first two contests due to a hamstring injury, the former sixth-rounder out of Louisiana Tech has started in five straight games for Dallas. He’s recorded a quiet 13 tackles and one interception in that span.
The Cowboys have a lot of faith in the second-year safety, opting not to address his position in either the draft or free agency this offseason. And although there was certainly talk of a possible Thomas trade, the fact Dallas never panicked and overpaid for the six-time Pro Bowler was a vote of confidence for Woods.
With all trade talk now in the past, Woods can now start to develop into the ball-hawking free safety the Cowboys certainly hope he can become. They have backed the young defender publicly all year. Now, Woods has nine games (at least) to prove their faith was warranted.