Woodley's play validates hype
One by one, LaMarr Woodley took note of the players selected ahead of him in the 2007 NFL Draft.
Gaines Adams, Jamaal Anderson, Adam Carriker, Jarvis Moss and Anthony Spencer -- Woodley still doesn't understand why he was the sixth defensive end taken.
"Everybody that got drafted in front of me, I'm doing better than them. Not being cocky, that's just the way it is," said Woodley, the Steelers' second-round pick two years ago who was the 46th overall selection.
Woodley, whose foot speed was questioned coming out of Michigan, made the seamless transition from college defensive end to NFL outside linebacker.
Woodley has 17 1⁄2 career sacks in 35 career games, or 1⁄2 sack per game. He established a league record with two sacks in each of his four postseason games.
This season, Woodley has only two sacks, but he's out to prove he isn't a one-dimensional defender. He has 25 tackles to go along with nine quarterback pressures, three passes defended and one fumble recovery.
Woodley's 77-yard touchdown return of a Brett Favre fumble not only aided the Steelers' 27-17 win over Minnesota, but it may have doused once and for all the talk of him being too slow to play linebacker at 6-foot-2 and 272 pounds.
"You see me drop back into coverage and cover receivers. Bat down balls. I even have an interception. I think all those questions kind of went away last year," said Woodley, who's scheduled to make his 23rd career start Monday night against the Denver Broncos.
"The only team that really looked at me as a defensive end coming out of college was the Tennessee Titans. Every other team was, 'Can you play outside linebacker?'
"I'm not going to run the fastest 40 time because it has nothing to do with being a football player in my eyes. I won every award possible for a defensive lineman (Lombardi, Ted Hendricks, Chevy Defensive Player of the Year). It just goes to show what I did in college wasn't a joke."
Woodley has more career sacks than four of the defensive ends drafted before him, combined -- Anderson, Carriker, Moss and Spencer. Adams, the No. 4 overall pick who was traded to Chicago this season, has 13 1⁄2 career sacks.
"I don't downplay them; I'm on a good team," Woodley said. "I'm playing at a high level now with a good group of guys."
Woodley's touchdown return was a total team effort as he followed a convoy of blockers to the end zone. It was his second career fumble return for a touchdown.
"When I picked up the ball, no one was there. So, I turned sideways, tried to keep my momentum going forward and made sure I had the ball," Woodley said. "Coming out of college, I didn't run a 4.5, 4.6 40. I ran a 4.7. Everything is based on 40-time. What is a defensive lineman doing running the 40• I ain't no track guy. I'm a football player. I just saw that (touchdown) run as, 'Finally, LaMarr made a big play. He might not be getting the sacks this year, but he made a great play.'"
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Can Steelers’ Mitchell find Carolina cure?
- Worth of nickel rising in NFL
- Steelers notebook: Panthers LB Kuechly making an impression
- Robinson: Study shows NFL troublemakers don’t get hurt in wallet
- Play to watch: Inside zone read slant/bubble
- Moore hopes to see red (zone) in Steelers debut
- Steelers notebook: Ravens DL fined for hit on Roethlisberger
- Steelers’ Timmons looks to reverse defense’s struggles
- Steelers defense a long way from ‘greatest of all time’
- Steelers’ Polamalu relying on smarts as physical skills decline