From now until the 2022 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today I’ll be taking a look at an underrated tight end in a deep draft class that has the potential to be one of the top in the class when it’s all said and done in Virginia tight end Jelani Woods.
#0 Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia (Grad) — 6071, 253 lbs.
East-West Shrine Game, Combine
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Jelani Woods||6071/253||9 1/2″||34 1/2″||82″|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
-Planet theory offensive weapon
-Massive catch radius with adequate hands to pluck the football out of the air
-Shows good burst into and out of his cuts on in-breaking routes
-Good at finding the soft spot against zone coverage, serving as security outlet
-Comfortable with hand in the dirt or lined up out wide as true move tight end
-Fiery personality on the field, plays with obvious chip; true alpha mentality
-Can bully smaller defenders in space; absolute load to defend
-Willing blocker with long frame and good compete level
-Prone to bobbles and focus drops; most fully develop hands
-Mostly unimaginative as a route runner; was able to thrive at Virginia due to size
-Heavy feet overall; won’t offer much in terms of YAC despite being a load for defenders
-Tends to play with high pad level as a blocker
-Must develop hand usage as a blocker, which will unlock another level to his game with his long limbs and power
-Has to clean up technique within routes; tends to sell what he’s doing by leaning towards direction he’s cutting towards
-Only one true year with production as a receiver
-Started 10 games and appeared in 11 at Virginia in 2021, finishing with 44 catches for 598 yards and eight touchdowns
-Named First Team All-ACC tight end
-Transferred to Virginia for 2021 season after spending three seasons at Oklahoma State
-Played in 34 games (28 starts) at Oklahoma State, finishing with 31 receptions for 361 yards and four touchdowns for Cowboys
-Led the ACC in receiving for tight ends in 2021 and posted third-most yards by a tight end in program history
-Former quarterback that switched to tight end in 2017 at Oklahoma State
With all due respect, Virginia tight end Jelani Woods looks like an alien.
I mean that lovingly, considering his size and speed at the tight end position. He’s truly one of those planet theory weapons at 6071, 253 lbs. Despite his freakish size and overall traits, Woods is being relatively slept on in a deep tight end class in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Woods, a transfer from Oklahoma State to Virginia, exploded onto the scene in 2021, becoming the top tight end in the ACC. A true mismatch anywhere on the field, Woods dominated the competition throughout the 2021 season, showcasing his ability to win consistently on in-breaking routes, carving up defenses over the middle.
The snap at the top of the stem to push inside on the skinny post isn’t as sharp as it could be, but Woods does a great job splitting the defenders and running into open field, catching the dart from the Virginia quarterback on the first play from scrimmage for an explosive play, putting the Cavaliers near midfield.
A few plays later on the opening drive against Illinois, Woods — lined up in-line here — works vertically on the go route, shedding the initial chip and exploding downfield with his long strides. Woods then high-points the football and drags a defender into the end zone for the impressive touchdown.
This play alone highlighted what Woods can be as a vertical weapon in the passing attack.He’s not overly explosive, but he’s a long strider that chews up a ton of yardage and can play above the rim downfield.
I really liked this rep later in the game against Illinois, again working over the middle on an in-breaking route. Woods does a good job selling vertical against the linebacker before sticking his outside foot in the turf and cutting inside. He creates ample separation for the quarterback to find him and does a nice job adjusting to an off-target throw over the middle, swallowing up the football with his big mitts.
As big as he is, he’s a real problem for defenders, especially in the secondary. Lined up in the slot here, Woods run a post route and is able to get inside the Wake Forest defender at the top of his stem. From there, Woods shows off the power difference between himself and defensive backs as the Wake Forest safety coming in to try and separate the tight end from the ball bounces right off Woods in hilarious fashion, allowing the Virginia star to bound into the end zone.
This won’t happen as much in the NFL, but it showed just how big and strong Woods is overall.
One thing I really like about Woods is that he’s a genuine mismatch on the field. A true move TE that can also play with his hand in the dirt, Woods will be a weapon at the next level. Lined up out wide here against Louisville, Woods shows how strong he is at the point of attack, bullying the Cardinals’ defender at the goal line, allowing him to burst inside for the easy touchdown.
Right away in the NFL, Woods will become a true redzone threat due to his size and overall strength.
As a blocker, Woods can function due to his size and strength, but he has to clean up his hand usage and overall technique.
This clip against Duke last season showed some of his issues.
He ducks his head and catches the safety working downhill, stopping his feet in the process. Woods has the strength though, along with the long limbs, to quickly regain control and drive the safety off the ball roughly 5 yards downfield, leading to a clear win in the rep, even with the safety tossing him aside late in the rep.
With his overall length and strength, Woods has the potential to develop into a solid in-line tight end that can function at an adequate level as a blocker.
Overall, I really like Woods and what he brings to the table. I had the chance to see him in person in Las Vegas at the East-West Shrine Bowl, and he certainly looks the part, almost like a Transformer. He moves very well for his size and has good overall body control to adjust to the football and make plays above the rim.
At Oklahoma State, Woods was used as more of an in-line blocking tight end in the Cowboys’ power rushing attack, and he handled himself nicely. Once he transferred to Virginia though, he really emerged as a true offensive weapon in the passing attack.
Woods still needs to develop a strong feel for route running overall, and has to develop a route tree that includes more than out routes and in-breaking routes, but the physical tools are there for him to develop into a solid dual-threat tight end that can function at a starting caliber level in-line or lined up out wide.
Projection: Late Day 2 (4th Round)
Depot Draft Grade: 7.4 Developmental tight end with upside to be true No. 1 for a team
Games Watched: vs. Illinois (2021), at North Carolina (2021), vs. Wake Forest (2021), at Louisville (2021), vs. Duke (2021), vs. Georgia Tech (2021), at Pittsburgh (2021), vs. Virginia Tech (2021)