2020 FA Roundup: DE Jonathan Woodard injury analysis

Is Woodard healthy enough to make the roster?

DE Johnathan Woodard has not had the NFL career he had envisioned after entering the league as a draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He has suffered injuries, several team changes, and the overall inability to effectively show a team what he can do when healthy. 

Below is Woodard’s injury history:

2016:

Drafted in the 7th round by Jacksonville out of Central Arkansas. During his time at Central Arkansas, there is no information available regarding injuries. 

Within a month of getting drafted, Woodard’s season ended before it could begin, tearing his Achilles’ in Jaguars OTA’s. Per the report, he tore his Achilles’ attempting to plant his foot to get past a tackling dummy which resulted in a non-contact injury. 

He had surgery shortly after the injury and was placed on IR for the season. 

2017:

Jacksonville released Woodard and he signed with the Atlanta Falcons practice squad for 2 weeks until he was waived. He was out of football for the rest of the season.

2018:

Signed with the Miami Dolphins and was able to appear in 6 games for them towards the middle and end of the season. During that time, he sustained a concussion which led him to miss the following game against the Lions but was able to return later that week against Houston.  He finally was able to show that he could play at the NFL level and the Dolphins brought him back for the next season.

2019:

Woodard never made it out of training camp, suffering an undisclosed injury which led to him sitting on IR for the entirety of the season before getting cut just prior to Christmas.

2020:

Signed by the Bills to the practice squad and then to a reserve/futures contract following the end of the season.

Bills Injury Impact:

Woodard certainly had his career derailed by his Achilles’ injury and one has to wonder if he ever got his power and explosiveness back which is a common concern following Achilles’ tears. Fortunately for Woodard, the risk to re-tear his surgically repaired Achilles’ is rather low at about 1-2% within 5 years. However, the risk of tearing the opposite side is roughly 5-6% within 5 years which is worrisome, but still odds I’m willing to take if I was a team looking for depth. 

Woodard has already shown he can return to play. Typically, a delay in return to baseline performance takes about 1 year and the following 2 years, there is no change in the difference of performance. Add in the concussion from 2018 and undisclosed injury from last year does make me concerned regarding his availability for 2020. He may just be a camp body, but he better has the training camp of a lifetime in order to make this roster. He could end up on the practice squad due to the rule changes, but his time in the NFL may be limited and this could be his last shot at glory.