Film Room: Colts Find No. 3 DT With Signing of Antwaun Woods

Just a few short days after hosting veteran defensive tackle Antwaun Woods, the Indianapolis Colts signed the four-year veteran to a one-year deal Tuesday, providing experienced depth along the defensive line.
Publish date:

A little under two weeks removed from the 2021 NFL Draft, General Manager Chris Ballard and the Indianapolis Colts continue to strike while the iron is hot on the free agent market, grabbing veteran defensive tackle Antwaun Woods Tuesday a week after being cut by the Dallas Cowboys.

Woods, who started 32 games for the Cowboys from 2018-2020, previously signed a one-year tender in April with the Cowboys and was expected to start again along the defensive front.

One team's proverbial trash is the Colts' treasure though, as Ballard inked the four-year veteran to a one-year deal, providing experience and production behind All-Pro defensive tackles DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart.

Though Woods isn't a well-known name, the former USC product has carved out a strong role in the NFL, working his way into a decent run defender who brings the occasional pop as a pass rusher.

Where he'll make an impact with the Colts is as a run defender right away, allowing the Colts and defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus to rotate Stewart and Buckner out early in the game to keep them fresh.

After all, Woods has nearly 1,400 snaps played in his career, which is a significant upgrade over guys like Andrew Brown, Taylor Stallworth and Rob Windsor, who combined for just 133 career snaps behind Buckner and Stewart.

Run Defense a Calling Card

According to Woods' Pro Football Focus page, the veteran defensive tackle grades out at roughly a 64.5 run defense, which is a little over average. He flashes the occasional great run rep, but he's a bit inconsistent, especially in a larger role.

Fortunately for Woods and the Colts, he'll be a backup, which will allow him to thrive in a lesser role where he's able to go all out on every rep.

That's not to say his effort is an issue, because his motor runs hot often.

Here against the Cleveland Browns in 2020, Woods shows some great movement ability for a man his size (6'1", 318 lbs), working his way down the line of scrimmage to chase the ball and make the stop.

When you have a guy that size who will chase the ball down the line of scrimmage and make a play, it rubs off on the rest of the defense.

The thing that stood out consistently with Woods was his ability to create separation against blockers, disengage and make a play near the line of scrimmage.

While he's not much of a penetrating defensive tackle, he knows how to use his hands well to work himself into position to disengage and find the football, which he does here early in the 2020 season on the road against Seattle.

His first step and his ability to keep his pad level low helps him win along the line of scrimmage.

He's also a smart run defender and reads his keys well, rarely taking himself out of plays against the run.

Late in the 2020 season on the road against Cincinnati, Woods does a terrific job of not rushing upfield without a blocker engaging him, realizing the pulling guard is coming.

Look at the power Woods is able to generate in that short area as well, stunning the Bengals' left guard before making the run stop near the line of scrimmage.

Woods will flash some plays against the run like this, but he's a bit inconsistent. 

At times, his get-off is slow and he's a tick slow to process what's happening in front of him, allowing the lineman across from him to win very early in the rep, like Cleveland's Wyatt Teller does here in 2020.

Woods is a bit slow off the ball, which allows Teller to reach and run on him, taking him out of the stretch run.

Again, you can't knock his motor though as Woods never gives up on the play and fights back into the mix to get in on the run stop.

He'll be able to provide some decent run defense reps for the Colts in place of Stewart and Buckner, which will help the Colts maintain a sound level of play along the defensive line when one of the two All-Pros is off the field.

Limited Pass Rusher

While he is a decent run defender overall, Woods will not give you much as a pass rusher.

In nearly 700 career pass rush reps, Woods has just three career sacks and 14 total hurries. That's not something to write home about, but he flashes the occasional pass rush rep that opens your eyes.

The one that I found quickly in his 2020 tape was this rep against the Seahawks late in the game.

Look at the quick, efficient club to stun the right guard, allowing Woods to get past him inside and get up the field.

Take a close look at the subtle shoulder dip late in the rep to slip past the center, staying clean and unimpeded to get a big hit on Russell Wilson.

Though he's not going to be much of a factor as a pass rusher, having a guy with Woods' experience as the No. 3 DT in Eberflus' system is a huge win for the Colts this late in the offseason free agency period.

Have thoughts on how Antwaun Woods will fit into the Colts' system? Drop a line in the comments section below!