2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jelani Woods

2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jelani Woods

by April 4, 2022 1 comment

The NFL Combine is always a time where workout warriors show out. Some players are athletes who struggle with the technical aspects of football, while others put the two together to cement their draft stock. One player that skyrocketed his draft stock at the scouting combine in Indianapolis was Jelani Woods. The Virginia Tech tight end committed to Oklahoma State to play quarterback. Unfortunately for his future as a quarterback, the Cowboys moved him to the tight end spot. Woods started over 20 games for Oklahoma State and only caught 31 passes for 361 yards and four touchdowns. 

Following the 2020 season, Woods grad transferred to Virginia. The uber-athletic tight end rose to the occasion this year with Virginia, where he had 44 catches for almost 600 yards and eight touchdowns. Woods had a monstrous game against Illinois in his second game with Virginia this year, catching five passes for 122 yards and a touchdown. At six-foot-seven, Woods has dynamic length to help him as a blocker and a redzone threat, but those aren’t the only skills he has to his game. 

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Player Bio

Name: Jelani Woods
Jersey: No. 0
Position: Tight End
School: Virginia
Class: Redshirt Senior
Height: 6’7″
Weight: 255 lbs
Games Watched: Illinois (2021), Duke (2021), North Carolina (2021)

Major Injury History: None 

Player Breakdown

Blocking (14/20)

Woods is a tenacious blocker. When you watch the film, it’s easy to see that it’s something he takes a lot of pride in and has been working on since making the transition to a new position. Woods mainly relies on his strength and athletic skills to get in space and get in front of defenders and manhandle them one way or another. Unfortunately, there are also scenarios where Woods whiffs on blocks because he relies solely on his strength and athleticism instead of his technique. With that said, it’s very encouraging to see how well he is faring in this skill already. 

Route Running (8.25/15)

With Woods being so new to the position, it isn’t a surprise to see him struggle in his route running. There were a few times where he did show some suddenness here, but more often than not, he seemed to be a bit slow compared to the speeds he was running at during the combine. Woods does understand leverage and can get into defenders’ faces and then cut to the middle of the field on a slant or in route. Woods is a perfect fit as a mismatch down the seam. 

Release (7/10)

Generally, Woods wasn’t tasked with press coverage during his time at Virginia. When he was playing as an in-line tight end, he had to side-swipe a defensive end to get to the next level and make his way up the seam. Woods doesn’t appear to have that much foot-fire, so getting a dominant release off the line of scrimmage has yet to be seen on film. 

Tracking (8.75/10)

Woods has a massive catch radius that allows him to catch passes from just about anywhere. He is dominant in 50-50 catch situations and is a threat to score every time he’s on the field for a goal-line opportunity. Woods is a true mismatch in most areas of the field and is a winner in just about every goal-line situation. 

Run After Catch (6.5/10)

With the ball in his hands, Woods turns into a bowling ball. It is difficult to bring him down with one defender, and there were times during the three games watched where Woods got through two, sometimes three defenders just by being bigger and stronger than them on his way to the endzone. 

Hands/Ball Security (8.25/10)

Generally, Woods catches the ball with ease. There are a few cases where he bobbles the ball and has to corral it after bobbling it a few times, or the ball goes through his hands because he’s already looking up the field. These are concentration drops more than anything, and thanks to his massive catch radius, he has a better chance of catching balls than others. 

Contested Catch (9.5/10)

Thanks to his elite size, Woods does damage in the middle of the field and the redzone when he has defenders draped over him. There were multiple times where the tight end caught a pass with a defender laying a hit on him right after he got his hands on the ball. In the endzone, Woods is a perfect fit as a player that can win consistently on goal-line fades. 

Versatility (9/10)

Virginia lined Woods almost everywhere along the offense. He would align as an in-line tight end, H-back, slot receiver, or boundary receiver. Woods is a ferocious lead blocker that paves wide-open holes for running backs and can destroy defenses when a seam is given to him. He is quite versatile for a prospect that has only just started to scratch the surface of what he could become at the next level. 

Athleticism (5/5)

Woods surprised just about everyone when he ran a 4.61 in the 40-yard dash during the combine. Following his Pro Day, the Virginia tight end posted an unofficial 10 on the RAS scale. Woods has elite grades in his explosion grade, as he had a 37.5-inch vertical and 10’9″ broad jump, his speed grade with his 1.57 10-yard split, and his agility grade as he had a sub-seven-second three-cone time paired with his 4.2 short shuttle time. For a six-foot-seven man, Woods running a 4.61 in the 40-yard dash is something out of a lab. 

Player Summary

Woods was a really fun evaluation. He is a dynamic playmaker from the tight end spot that will be a mismatch at just about every area of the field. Woods will have to have a learning curve at the next level because of how new he is to the position. Fortunately, there is plenty to work with thanks to his elite athleticism, versatility, catch radius, and blocking skills.

The team that drafts Woods will have to be patient with him and refine his technical aspects as a tight end. Right now, the Virginia tight end relies on being bigger and stronger than most defenders, and while there are brilliant flashes on tape of him being refined as a blocker and route runner, it wasn’t as consistent as you’d like. Woods is a perfect example of a player that will be selected late on day two or early on day three that is a pick towards the future that can develop into a starter. 

Rookie Projection: Number Two/Three Tight End 

Third Year Projection: Starting Tight End 

Final Grade (76.25/100): Fourth Round 

Player Comp: Marcedes Lewis 

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