Dallas Cowboys: Can Xavier Woods take the next step?

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

After two full years of NFL experience, Xavier Woods of the Dallas Cowboys has the potential to become one of the premier, young safeties in the NFL.

Xavier Woods of the Dallas Cowboys was born in Monroe, LA. After playing a season of wide receiver at West Monroe High School as a freshman, he changed positions to defensive back and immediately found his place.

In his sophomore season of high school, Woods intercepted six balls, returning two of them for touchdowns. After two more seasons of successful high school football, Woods found himself as an All-State player with a state championship ring.

Woods accepted a scholarship offer to attend Louisiana Tech University in 2013. Starting immediately as a true freshman, he played four full seasons of college football before deciding to enter the NFL Draft. In his career at Louisiana Tech, Woods produced 272 tackles (20.5 for loss), 14 interceptions, six forced fumbles, and four sacks.

Xavier Woods would ultimately be selected 191st overall in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. While many sixth-round picks struggle to even make an NFL roster, Woods would be an immediate impact player for the Dallas Cowboys.

As a rookie, Woods appeared in all 16 games, starting four of them. He produced 40 tackles along with an interception and a fumble recovery. In his second NFL season, Woods proved he was ready to make the next jump, becoming the permanent starter at safety. In 14 games, he racked up 56 tackles, two interceptions, and one forced fumble.

Heading into year three, is Xavier Woods ready to make yet another step, establishing himself as one of the premier young safeties in the NFL? Having just turned 24 years old, all signs are pointing towards him doing just that.

After being a playmaker his entire life, constantly forcing turnovers, Woods led the Cowboys in interceptions in 2018. With many players having their breakout year in their third season in the NFL, could this be the year that Woods breaks out as well?

Tim Cowlishaw of The Dallas Morning News and a regular panelist on the ESPN’s Around the Horn was recently asked which Cowboys player has surprised him most in training camp.

"“I would say Xavier Woods. It’s only training camp, but he seems to be moving quickly from a guy you think is OK as a starter to a real talent in this league … Woods has a great mindset after two years of Earl Thomas talk. He’s ready to show there was never any need to consider the former Pro Bowler, that they already have one in waiting.”"

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With Xavier Woods proving himself on the field the past two seasons and also catching the attention of the media during training camp, it is clear that we may be in for a treat watching him and the rest of the Dallas Cowboys defense in 2019.