The San Francisco 49ers brought in Blaine Woodson as an undrafted free agent a bit after their first batch of UDFAs were signed. So who is Blaine Woodson? Well, he’s a small-school defensive lineman from Delaware who had a great freshman season where he amassed 8.5 sacks. He never returned to that production but still put out ok numbers: three sacks, one forced fumble, an interception (good lord), and 55 total tackles in 2017 alone.
Again though, small school guy so it’s hard to see how he’d do against better competition. He didn’t have a combine invite and he wasn’t scouted too heavily with the media and scouting reports.
I wasn’t able to find any full Delaware games to see him in a full 60 minutes but from his highlight reels, I see a term I gave to 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis long ago: A buff ninja. Woodson has a nice motor, but I see some great anticipation for a defensive lineman. He can sit at the block and let the lineman have his way and when the runner comes by, the lineman is on his back and Woodson has the runner in a bear hug. A quarterback can run away and then come back the other way and Woodson all the sudden is waiting for them.
There’s a lot to like about Woodson, but again, a project. What the Robert Saleh is going to have to do is bring this kid up to speed with better competition and the NFL at large. The 49ers have far too much depth at defensive line this year, but next year could be a different story. One year on the practice squad and this guy could be a great backup.
And again, I’ve said this before, you don’t need to be a starter to be a banshee on special teams.
Experience: Rookie season
He is in year one of a three-year UDFA deal. His 2018 salary will be $480,000.
What to expect in 2018
Woodson was signed a bit late and he’s got some nice abilities. However he’s got a rough hill to climb. Look for his name on a few practice reports with the 3rd team, if they ever come up. The 49ers have defensive linemen aplenty and Woodson doesn’t seem to qualify as much of a pass rusher at the next level, at least not right now. Woodson may impress, but expect him getting acclimated to the game and the 49ers kicking the tires to see what they got.
Odds of making the roster
The 49ers could use an edge rusher, or someone with a knack for getting to the quarterback, something Woodson doesn’t seem to have, at least not yet. He’s going to be a Game 4 starter and probably spend a year on the practice squad. If his skills can translate over to the NFL, he’s got a shot at being really good in 2019.