Skip to main content

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Colby Wooden’s dreams came true last Saturday.

“It’s been my dream to get to the league since I first started playing football when I was 8,” Wooden, a defensive lineman selected in the fourth round, said Friday at Green Bay Packers rookie camp.

“I’m just blessed to be here. When I got the call, you know how you don’t recognize the number. I got it, ‘Hello?’ ‘You ready to be a Packer?’ ‘Oh, shoot, let’s get it!’ I was just excited to have that dream come true last Saturday. I’m just blessed to be here.”

Wooden was watching the fourth round unfold when his phone rang. There was a brief moment of confusion.

“Initially when they called, they were two picks out,” Wooden recalled. “I’m like, ‘Oh!’ I thought I was going to somebody before them. They said, ‘This is Green Bay.’ I looked up at the TV and they were two picks away. I’m like, ‘Oh, OK.’ That was a cool experience. Happy experience, humbling experience. It was life-changing. My mom’s crying, dad was ecstatic. It was just a blessing.”

Wooden’s football career started, “believe it or not,” he said with a laugh, at running back. Then he got taller. In ninth grade, with his team doing an old-school Oklahoma Drill, the coach asked him to line up on defense.

“So, I swam a block and ever since then it took off,” Wooden said.

His career really took off in the annual Iron Bowl showdown vs. Alabama in 2021. Wooden dominated the mighty Crimson tide with 11 tackles and one sack.

“That’s when it hit me. ‘Shoot, I might be able to really do this,’” he said. “I thought I was all right but I didn’t think I was good enough to play. After the Iron Bowl and the stats I had, I was definitely, ‘OK, I might be able to do this.’”

He used that game as a launching pad. As a senior, he set career highs with six sacks, 11.5 tackles for losses, three forced fumbles and three passes defensed.

After dreaming of the NFL for years and years, those dreams were right in front of him when he walked into Lambeau Field for the first time, saw his name at his locker and then went out to the practice field for the first time on Friday afternoon.

“I still haven’t taken it all in yet,” he said. “I feel like once I put the pads on and hit a few times, then it’ll be, ‘OK, it’s real.’ Right now, I’m still, ‘Oh, shoot I’m still here. I’m here right now.’ I’m happy and blessed to be here.”

Wooden fills a major need for the Packers, who entered the draft with only three defensive linemen who’ve played in a game and with just five on the roster.

Wooden brings decent size at 6-foot-4 and 278 pounds but superb athleticism with his 4.79 in the 40 at the Scouting Combine. Moreover, he’ll bring an upbeat, positive attitude, a desire to get better and a zest for football.

“I just love football. I truly love football,” he said. “If you love football, it’ll love you back. I wholeheartedly believe that. I know nothing’s going to be given to me. I know I have to work for everything. This is no different than college.

“Coming in, I had to work to get on the field. Now, I’ve got to work to get on the field and show that I can be here with the guys. That’s where I’m really interested in learning and learning and learning. When I’m watching them, ‘How do you do that? OK. Where are your hands at?’ I want to be a veteran. I want to be where they’re at. You’ve got to learn to get to where they’re at.”

More Green Bay Packers News

Sean Clifford beat out Will Levis; now, it’s Danny Etling

NFL Draft delivers swing in NFC North odds

Anthony Johnson embraced move to safety at Iowa State

Are Green Bay’s weaknesses really weaknesses?

Just how young is Green Bay’s receiver corps? 32-team breakdown

Randall Cobb signs with Jets; who’s left for Packers?

Jordan Love gets extension with “big raise”

Oregon State position coach on Luke Musgrave

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz on Lukas Van Ness