One look at Jaiden Woodbey’s 2023 NFL Draft scouting report should leave NFL decision-makers intrigued. He isn’t the flashiest. He isn’t the most athletic. But the Boston College LB is one of the most versatile prospects in the class. Let’s dive into what makes the self-proclaimed Renaissance man a worthwhile investment.
Jaiden Woodbey NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Linebacker
- School: Boston College
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height/Weight: 6’0″, 231 pounds
- Length: 32″
- Wingspan: 79 3/4″
- Hand: 9 5/8″
From a five-star recruit at St. John Bosco and one of nine true freshmen to start an entire season in Florida State history to agonizing over whether he’ll ever see the field again, it’s been a tumultuous collegiate career for Woodbey. But as the saying goes, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”
After receiving freshman All-American honors for the Seminoles — playing with a torn labrum for the entire year, mind you –, Woodbey was on top of the world. Yet, that near-instant ascension to stardom met a similarly abrupt descent into one of the lowest points of the California native’s life.
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Four games into his sophomore campaign, Woodbey suffered a gruesome knee injury, requiring immediate surgery. The following year didn’t inspire much confidence either, as COVID hit, and Woodbey was ready for a fresh start. Joining head coach Jeff Hafley and staff at Boston College in 2021, the versatile defender enjoyed a career resurrection.
Two master’s degrees, 131 total tackles (5.5 for loss), two interceptions, five pass breakups, and two fumble recoveries later, Woodbey’s on the cusp of turning his childhood dream into a reality.
Jaiden Woodbey Scouting Report
- Good size (6’0″, 231), proportional length (32″), and athleticism for a modern linebacker.
- Long speed offers chase-down potential and range in coverage.
- Disciplined vision with impressive film-based instincts.
- Quickly recognizes down, distance, formations, and tendencies to be in position to blow up plays.
- Speed and power to beat running backs 1-on-1 when blitzing.
- Has showcased the physical prowess to stymie tight ends and running backs in man coverage.
- Swiftly drops to his zone and keeps head on a swivel for potential threats.
- Doesn’t give up on plays — will hawk ball carriers down from the opposite hash.
- Five-year collegiate starter in three defensive schemes.
- Stout open-field tackler, comes to balance, and rarely takes poor angles.
- Extensive experience in the box, slot, and deep safety offers sought-after versatility.
- Strong special-teams contributor with 100+ career snaps on kick coverage, punt coverage, and field-goal block units.
Areas for Improvement
- Short-area athleticism isn’t elite — can take time to reach top speed.
- Average change-of-direction ability.
- Doesn’t have the twitch or fluidity to line up in the slot vs. receivers.
- Still learning how to deconstruct blocks in the box.
- Struggles to shed bigger blockers in take-on situations.
- Minimal experience as a true middle linebacker.
- Can improve play strength — outmuscled by offensive linemen, and ball carriers occasionally broke free from tackles.
- Blocks render him ineffective when fighting through congestion to track plays laterally.
- Although coverage ability is a plus, lack of ball production could be concerning — only has two career interceptions (both in 2021).
Boston College LB Jaiden Woodbey Current Draft Projection
If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a fan of Woodbey’s game, and you should be too. He reminds me of a more versatile Matt Milano. And if you’ve watched the Buffalo Bills play the last few years, you know how much he has meant to that defense. Milano, also a Boston College alum, went in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft as a 6’0″, 223-pound linebacker with a 4.67 40-yard dash.
Woodbey already put on 8-9 pounds before the Shrine Bowl, proving it didn’t hinder his athleticism during practice. Plus, he aims to run in the 4.5s at his pro day (Combine snub), putting any concerns about his speed to rest.
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The term “tweener” has often been used for players who flow between multiple positions but don’t have a natural home when they get to the league. That isn’t the case for Woodbey, and anyone who puts that label on him hasn’t watched enough tape.
His versatility is invaluable — he allows a defense to keep the same personnel on the field against various formations and situations. At his full potential, Woodbey can hold his own in the box, cover tight ends and running backs in empty, and serve as a big nickel.
Will he need time to adjust to the stiffer competition and refine his game as a box linebacker? Yes, but that’s where the ace up his sleeve comes in. As he’s honing his craft on defense, Woodbey can be a crucial special-teamer from Day 1. With solid testing numbers, Woodbey should hear his name called by Rounds 4-5.
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