No Surprises in Pittsburgh: LaMarr Woodley Can Play
Despite winning the Lombardi Award as a senior (given to the best lineman in the country), then Michigan defensive end LaMarr Woodley was only drafted in the second round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Thus, the fact that he was able to accumulate 14 tackles, four sacks, and one forced fumble during the 2007 regular season as an outside linebacker was probably pretty impressive to the novice spectator, especially considering his limited playing time and draft status.
What's more, Woodley once again showed that he could come up big in big games in the playoff loss against Jacksonville where he accumulated two sacks and three tackles.
Should we be surprised by this? No. The fact is that LaMarr Woodley has been playing football at a very high level, particularly in big games, for a long time. The reason why he fell to the second round was that his height and timed speed weren't perfect for the NFL brass.
Consider the following: As a defensive end for the University of Michigan Wolverines in 2006, the 6'2", 270-pound Woodley posted 36 tackles, 12 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss, and four forced fumbles. He did this after impressing the Michigan faithful with 48 tackles, five sacks, and 12 tackles for loss in 2005 (after missing two games).
There were also the 70 tackles, four sacks, and 16 tackles for loss he posted during his sophomore season.
During his stint with the Wolverines, Woodley clearly proved to be a hard hitter, outstanding pass rusher, and was solid against the run. In addition, he was always at his best in big games, as was noted earlier. How about the four tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble he put up against the hated Ohio State Buckeyes in 2005? Then there were the four tackles for a loss he posted against Penn State as a junior?
In case you don't remember that great Rose Bowl contest against the Texas Longhorns back in 2005, Vince Young wasn't the only guy to play well. Woodley ended up sharing the Rose Bowl MVP Award with him.
Word is that LaMarr Woodley will likely be starting next season at outside linebacker for the Steelers. When you break it down, this would seem to remind everyone of the following:
Speed in the 40-yard dash, size, and other measurables have their place. However, nothing should be more important in determining draft position than how you've played.
LaMarr Woodley is a football player. Thus, his play is another reminder that this is more important than height, weight, and a 40 time any day of the week.
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