New York Jets continue searching for answers at defensive tackle
After missing out on Fletcher Cox and Calais Campbell, the New York Jets have pivoted to another defensive tackle in his thirties. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Jets are set to host free agent DT Al Woods on a visit this week. Woods, 36, is also set to visit the Browns.
Former #Seahawks DT Al Woods is visiting the #Browns and #Jets this week, source said. One of the most durable and valuable DTs for the last several years.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 3, 2023
Entering his 14th season, Woods is still known as an excellent run stuffer. In 2022, he ranked at the 78th percentile among qualified defensive tackles with a run-stop rate of 8.5%.
Woods manned a situational role for the Seahawks, playing 39% of the defensive snaps across his 14 appearances. He was primarily deployed in running situations. A whopping 58% of his snaps came on a run play, which ranked eighth-highest out of 141 qualified defensive tackles.
While Woods offers solid run-stuffing ability – which the Jets desperately need at the defensive tackle position – New York’s interest in Woods is somewhat peculiar because of the scheme fit. Woods is not the greatest match for the Jets from a schematic standpoint.
For their aggressive 4-3 scheme, the Jets typically covet athletic defensive tackles who excel at penetrating gaps (known as “one-gapping”). Woods is an enormous, 330-pound, space-eating defensive tackle with limited athleticism who is at his best when simply holding his ground (“two-gapping”) rather than shooting into the backfield. He’d be the first defensive tackle of this mold to play for the Jets since Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich started leading the defense in 2021.
Another question mark is where the Jets would align Woods in their defense. Woods plays nose tackle extremely frequently, but in their 4-3 scheme, the Jets rarely ever ask their defensive tackles to line up at nose tackle.
Woods lined up at nose tackle on 179 snaps in 2022, ranking as the 10th-most snaps in that alignment among all defensive tackles. That’s 77 more NT snaps than the combined 2022 total of every defensive tackle on the Jets roster (102). New York’s 102 NT snaps were the fifth-fewest of any team.
This will be a fascinating one to monitor. Signing Woods would address a dire need for the Jets, but it would also represent a drastic departure from the Jets’ usual tendencies at the defensive tackle position. Perhaps that would be a good thing.
Doesn’t sound like a prudent signing. The Seahawks’ other run-stopper, Ford, might be a somewhat better choice? He’s at least a bit younger.
Couldn’t you guys find a more appealing photo of Mr. Woods?