Cornerback, Oakland Raiders
Age: 22 (Oct. 7)
Height: 6’1” Weight: 197
Woodson was a versatile college performer, prone to making big plays, who won the 1997 Heisman Trophy as a primarily defensive player. He intercepted 18 passes while also catching 25 for 402 yards on offense and excelling as a punt returner (8.7-yard average on 47 returns). Entering the draft following his junior year, Woodson was taken by the Oakland Raiders in the first round (fourth overall) and moved quickly into the starting lineup.
1998 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]
Interceptions – 5 [14, tied with nine others]
Most interceptions, game – 1 on five occasions
Int. return yards – 118 
Most int. return yards, game – 46 (on 1 int.) at Arizona 10/4
Int. TDs – 1 [10, tied with many others]
Sacks – 0
Fumble recoveries – 0
Forced fumbles – 2
Tackles – 61
Assists – 3
TDs – 1
Points – 6
Awards & Honors:
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year: AP, PFWA
Raiders went 8-8 to finish second in the AFC West.
Woodson was chosen to the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons. Outstanding in all facets of the cornerback position, he also was a consensus first-team All-Pro in 1999. Injuries began to become an issue, however, and he missed time during each of the next four years as a result while also drawing criticism for inconsistent play despite his great ability. Joining the Packers as a free agent in 2006, he revived his career, intercepting 8 passes, and he was once again a Pro Bowl selection in ’08 despite playing with a broken toe. In 2009, Woodson garnered NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors from the Associated Press after leading the league with 9 interceptions and three returns for touchdowns. He had Pro Bowl seasons in 2010 and ’11, again leading the NFL in interceptions in the latter year with 7. He compensated for declining cover skills with fine playmaking ability, but missed most of 2012 due to injury. Woodson considered retirement, but returned to the Raiders in 2013 and started at free safety, recording a career-high 97 tackles. Through 2013, he has intercepted 56 passes, returning 11 of them for touchdowns, and has been a consensus first-team All-Pro three times and selected to eight Pro Bowls.
Rookie of the Year Profiles feature players who were named Rookie of the Year in the NFL, AFL (1960-69), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press – Offense or Defense, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, or the league itself – Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year).