Steelers Rookie WR J.D. Woods Exhibited Four Great Skills On Just Two Catches

Now that veteran Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress is out for the year with a torn rotator cuff, several young wide receivers are left to fight for the fifth spot on the depth chart. One of those young receivers is J.D. Woods, an undrafted free agent out of West Virginia.

Saturday night, in the loss to the New York Giants in the preseason opener, Woods showed that he not only has good hands, but that he can go up for the football in addition to getting his feet down on the sideline. His concentration, the fourth major skill needed to be a great receiver, was certainly evident.

Woods, who caught 61 passes for 637 yards as the third receiver behind the well-known Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, only played 13 offensive snaps Saturday night. Late in the third quarter, quarterback John Parker Wilson threw high to Woods down the left sideline, but the six-foot receiver elevated to make the catch. Not only did he make the catch; he was also able to maintain control despite getting flipped by the defender making the tackle.

Two plays later, Wilson targeted Woods on the right sidelines and the receiver calmly caught the ball with his hands while making sure to drag his left foot inbounds in order to have two feet down. The play was originally ruled an incompletion, but properly overturned after head coach Mike Tomlin challenged the call.

Being that David Gilreath is currently trending in the wrong direction, Woods might just get a few more snaps earlier in the second preseason game next week against the Washington Redskins. He still might be behind both Justin Brown and Derek Moye on the depth chart, but Woods certainly had the two most impressive catches of the night.

Steelers Giants animated gif J.D. Woods gif

Steelers J.D. Woods animated gif sideline catch

  • Good points, Dave! If JD Woods continues to perform in the clutch as he did last night, I hope the team can keep him as he might develop into a valuable possession receiver.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    not sure you can ask more than that out of a rookie WR.

  • Showboogie

    After Gilreath blunders it’s safe to think his stock has fallen alittle. Woods did have the best two catches last night and that was wit the third team.

  • TJimmy

    Justin Brown was another rookie that impressed me with his hands and body control.

  • Patrick

    Gilreath sucked, lets see more of Moyer


    He looks smooth. He needs more snaps in the next game.

  • Christopher Wilkes

    I was upset over losing Burress, but it could actually turn out to be a huge positive for the receivers in the long run. I really, really hope the Steelers can keep BOTH Brown and Woods. As much positives as I’ve heard about Moye from training camp, he didn’t have much opportunity last night to display it. Maybe we’ll get to see more of him soon, but right now I see the other two ahead of him. That sideline catch by Woods was awesome. Great recognition of where he was on the field, from planting the first foot to dragging the second.

    Gilreath? Lets just stop talking about him now. He’s garbage and always was garbage. I was down voted a couple weeks ago for saying if he made the team he’d fumble the ball given the opportunity. I’d rather give Reggie Dunn a spot on the roster than Gilreath.

  • dgh57

    If you want to get on Tomlins’ good side, catching a ball along the sidelines and then dragging the other for a inbounds catch is sure to do it. I’ve been high on this guy a while now and he just upped his stock in this game. I have warmed up to J. Brown since TC started and thought he looked good in this game also.

  • CW

    With the contract issues next year it might make sense to keep 6 wide receivers on the active roster as both Justin Brown and JD Woods look like good receivers in the making so that if the Steelers lose both Cotchery and Sanders, they’ll already be effectively replaced.

    Besides Brown is decent at punt returns and Woods can do kick return duties as well as well as both playing special teams, so they could help there for the foreseeable future.

  • Jason Brant

    Good call.

  • steeltown

    Indeed.. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but JD Woods is basically a Cotchery clone in size and physical attributes and J.Brown can be that tall WR (like Burress) that Ben has always wanted. Next year when Cotchery (and Burress) are gone, we could make use of these guys

  • steeltown

    Both looked solid catching the ball and both can contribute on special teams. If this trend continues through preseason I’d keep both of them for sure

  • dgh57

    If we keep both of them on the 53 man roster it would have to come at the expense of Cotch or keep 6 WRs. Which is alright with me being that I didn’t see him play and wasn’t listed as one of the inactives.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Well what do know # 17 with good hands and solid footwork i’m impressed. In all seriousness I’ve liked Woods since watching his WVU tape. He’s pretty impressive with the way he catches with his hands and he looks good doing it. With the uncertainty of the E Sanders situation were gonna need some young WR’s so this is the perfect opportunity for Woods and it looks like he’s making the best of it. Coach Tomlin is gonna have some tough decisions to make with these young guys competing the way that they are.

  • steeltown

    Im not saying get rid of Cotch, he’s a physical clutch WR, it would be keeping 6WRs or keep J.Brown on the 53man and try and stash JDWoods on the PS

  • dgh57

    Why don’t they play Cotch more then because he played in 14 games last year and doesn’t show up on the stat sheet much with only 17 receptions? I’m guessing he plays but is in there for his blocking.

    Woods might be the new/next clutch guy if he keeps playing like he did vs the Giants and we can get younger in the clutchman area in the process!

  • steeltown

    Its mainly because Cotchery has been the #4 WR behind Wallace, A.Brown and Sanders.. but he’s quietly a very good WR, 12 of those 17 catches last year went for a 1st down and the year before 13 of 16rec. went for 1st downs. Not to mention his 30yd TD in the playoffs with minutes left sending us to overtime.. but regardless I agree I do see JD Woods as the same physical type #4 WR, except he might also be able to contribute on special teams.

    But I digress.. its still very early, he has to continue to impress the coaches to have any chance

  • dgh57

    Yes, you are right. I forgot(or a brain freeze episode)about the 4th WR thing who, I think anyways, are mostly used on third down.

  • JAnderson

    Rookies look more impressive than AB. That man better drag his feet and start making yourself noticeable on the field again. ..

  • Rubem Dornas

    Just the first preseason game. I have to watch the other games before saying who deserves to be definitively on 53 man roster.

  • treeher

    Woods would get snatched up for sure. He belongs on the roster. My keep is A. Brown, E. Sanders, J. Brown, JD Woods, M. Wheaton. R. Dunn stays as returner and 6th receiver. Cotch is the old man out for me.

  • treeher

    Replying to my own post. Forgot about Moyes’ size. Might make it tough decision. Hasn’t Moyes used up practice squad eligibility?

  • steeltown

    I think I’d agree with all except, Dunn.. I’d keep Cotchery over Dunn, especially if we have LSH, Sanders, J.Brown and JD Woods who all can seemingly help in the return game

  • steeltown

    He’s still eligible..undrafted in 2012 and has yet to be active in the regular season..he’d be my favorite for the PS

  • treeher

    Agree Moyes for practice squad. We know what 31-year-old Cotch can (and can’t do). Dunn runs a 4.22 40. Has proven his ability to return kicks. I say keep him. Gotta change the faces from an 8-8 team.

  • steeltown

    I have to respectfully disagree.. Cotch is better than he gets credit for, he just doesn’t see the field much as the #4WR.. and there’s no way I’d go into this season with FOUR rookies at WR

  • treeher

    Probably right, but you know the practice squad is going to get poached.

  • steeltown

    That worries me every year

  • treeher

    I agree, it’s too early. But I agree with keeping 6. Sanders and Cotch are probably gone next year, and I wouldn’t mind if Cotch went this year. Bring in Ward to coach these young guys.