NFL Draft: Why Chargers’ New Confidence Is Called “Heartbreak Kid”

the Chargers drafted a safety Friday which called his skill set “very unique”, his nickname is also something quite special.

The “Heartbreak Kid” is now a charger.

JT Woods joined the team as round three pick – No. 79 in total – bringing versatility, speed and directing skills.

During the pitch leading up to the 2019 season at Baylor, then Bears assistant Joey McGuire gave Woods the nickname because he and defensive partner Grayland Arnold had so many interceptions.

“So it was just some kind of joke that I’m breaking quarterback hearts,” Woods said. “He just grew up into something much bigger than he was at the time.”

The nickname caught on due to Woods’ production in subsequent seasons. He has had nine interceptions in the past two years at Baylor, including two in the Bears’ 21-7 win over Mississippi at the Sugar Bowl on January 1.

“I started breaking the hearts of quarterbacks across the country,” Woods said, “not just those in the training facility.”

Woods’ play is built on speed as he was timed at 4.36 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He also has an NFL type length at 6ft 2, 195lbs and had a 40in vertical jump.

All of these measurable qualities led to CEO Tor Telesco also labeling Woods as “unique”.

“He’s fast, like legitimately fast, fast, you know, fast in football,” said Telesco. “He has excellent skills with the ball, he can turn the ball. He is aggressive, he has a great feeling with the game. A really interesting player. “

Woods was also a sprinter and hurdler during his time in Baylor, another indication of how fast he can move.

“As soon as you see him, you see how fast he plays,” Telesco said. “You notice it right away. Sometimes the guys with the longer legs take time to build and then you see the speed. He starts immediately “.

Woods said he mostly played deep on the pitch in college, but the Chargers were drawn to him because of his ability to even line up in the slot against more changeable receivers.

Woods said he has at times covered tight spots for the Bears as well, something that could potentially allow the Chargers to free Derwin James Jr. in various subpackages.

“He is a unique player,” said Telesco. “Like Nas [safety Nasir Adderley] and like Durwin, it is a safety with a lot of coverage with its length and speed.

Position flexibility, particularly in the secondary, is something of a coach Brandon Staley is emphasizing as the Chargers attempt to rebuild a defense that too often withered last season.

Woods led the Big 12 with six interceptions last year, finishing fourth on his team with 57 tackles.

He also opened the year by scoring touchdowns in consecutive weeks: a 20-yard interception return against the state of Texas and a school-record 97-yard fumble return against the Texas Southern.

The biggest hits for Woods who entered the draft have been in his physicality and contrast, both of which are said to need improvement.

“He’s aggressive, tough,” Telesco said. “The rest is yet to come a while. But he’s definitely more than willing to the point where he probably needs to slow down a bit. “

Given his physical characteristics, Woods is a potential significant contributor to special teams. Telesco said his speed suggests he could be used as a gunner in punt cover.

Woods called himself “a very trainable guy” and vowed that the Chargers will have a player who will help them win games.

“I have the size, the speed, but I really use my intellect to drive a lot of the work I do,” Woods said. “My intellect and my instincts are what help me use my speed and my size to make the plays I do.”

After selecting guard Zion Johnson at no. On Thursday 17, the Chargers made only two picks during the first three rounds of the draft. They traded their second round pick in March in the deal to acquire edge rusher Khalil Mack.

On Saturday they are expected to make eight picks in the final four rounds, starting with No. 123 suit. Six of these selections come in rounds 6 and 7.

Among their remaining positional needs are wide receiver, cornerback, defensive linesman, edge rusher, linebacker, and running back.

Baylor safety JT Woods scores after intercepting a pass against the state of Texas.

Baylor safety JT Woods scores after intercepting a pass against the state of Texas.

(Michael Thomas / Associated Press)

JT WOODS, safety
6 foot 2, 195 lbs, Baylor, round 3, pick 79

Notable: woods is a long, almost defensive backstroke with recognized ball skills who made great improvements during his time in college.

Last season: As a senior, Woods had 57 tackles and five interceptions for the Bears. He has had eight pickoffs during his last two seasons.

Why the Chargers Enlisted Him: After facing their offensive line with their first pick (guard Sion Johnson at no. 13 in total), the Chargers returned to defense by strengthening the secondary. Woods’ directing prowess certainly attracted the Chargers. He has had three interceptions in his last two college games, including a pair against Mississippi in the Sugar Bowl.