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.