“Oh, cool! The short guy from Hard Knocks!”
When Woodhead starting contributing in a big way, it was pure entertainment.
“Ha! Look at that — little Danny scored a touchdown!”
Now that he’s averaged more than five yards per carry and has solidified himself as a reliable back in Tom Brady‘s backfield, you have to wonder if we’re witnessing the birth of something special.
The reason most of us dismissed Woodhead as being a legitimate NFL running back was that he’s small. Very small. (Though Jeff Howe did note back in October that Woodhead has “massive leg muscles.” So, he’s got that going on.) It was a safe assumption, but like many, it turned out to be false.
We probably could have looked to fellow short guys Maurice Jones-Drew (5-foot-7) and Ray Rice (5-foot-8) for a history lesson.
While UCLA and Rutgers aren’t quite as unknown as Chadron State, Jones-Drew and Rice weren’t exactly being measured for their Hall of Fame jackets before entering the league. Since then, though, they’ve proven to be as good as anyone.
Throwing out his sporadic work in the Jets’ backfield last season, here’s how Woodhead’s early-career stats measure up to those of Jones-Drew and Rice:
Woodhead: 73 carries, 376 yards, 5.2 average, four touchdowns; 30 receptions, 335 yards, 11.2 average, one touchdown
Jones-Drew: 166 carries, 941 yards, 5.7 average, 13 touchdowns; 46 receptions, 436 yards, 9.5 average, two touchdowns
Rice: 107 carries, 454 yards, 4.2 average, no touchdowns; 33 receptions, 273 yards, 8.3 average, no touchdowns
Clearly, Woodhead’s production is comparable, at least in terms of average yards per carry and catch, to the Pro Bowlers. Jones-Drew may be a bit out of his league though, just as he is most backs, regardless of height.
Still, the numbers are starting to add up. Have you seen enough out of Woodhead to believe he’ll one day be playing in Honolulu?
Share your thoughts below.
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