Bottom line: Woodson overrated


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Jan 22, 2006
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Bottom line: Woodson overrated
Inside Bay Area

DARTING HERE and there ...
-Charles Woodson was

a good football player for

the Oakland Raiders, but

for someone who was the No.4 pick in the 1998 draft and voted one of the top 100 college players of all time, his eight years in the Silver & Black ultimately have to be judged a big disappointment.

- Woodson had Hall of Fame written all over him early on as a defensive back, and he was supposed to give the Raiders bonuses as a game-breaking returner and receiver. But he never returned a punt or a kickoff for a touchdown, and he never caught a TD pass, either. His total output: two receptions for 17 yards and 12 punt returns for 77 yards, a long of 16.

- The shortcomings came on defense, too. C-Wood had just 17 interceptions in eight years and only two were returned for scores ... not exactly Ronnie Lott numbers. What's more, Woodson's best moment as a defensive player wound up not counting: The blitz hit he put on Tom Brady in the 2001 playoffs that turned into "The Tuck." Woodson and the Raiders had other names for it.

- All that said, it could have been a lot worse. Two guys taken ahead of Woodson in '98: Ryan Leaf and Andre Wadsworth. Woodson also got to a Super Bowl, while No.1 pick Peyton Manning still hasn't. Of course, Manning will be going to Canton someday, and Woodson will have to make a late rush.

- Come to think of it, Woodson vs. the 49ers' Ahmed Plummer, also cut loose, looks like a mismatch as well.

- Smartest move Woodson could make at this point: Take a little less money, sign a long-term deal with someone and move to free safety as Lott did. With his instincts and tackling ability, he could be a superior player for several more years at that position, a la Lott or Rod Woodson. In fact, if the Raiders were smart, they would try to keep Charles on the line with that in mind.

- That Internet-perpetrated rumor about a league-disallowed coin flip the day after the season between the Raiders and 49ers? Never happened, according to the Raiders. I believe them, or we would have heard them complaining Friday.

- The official flip was a more costly loss than what appears on the surface. The Raiders not only pick after the 49ers in the first round but also every subsequent round in which they have their own picks. Alternating rounds would have seemed a fairer solution, and Raiders fans should squawk about that.

-If the Raiders have designs on linebacker A.J. Hawk, they'd better have a contingency plan, particularly with the 49ers cutting Julian Peterson free. Peterson was never the same player after his Achilles' surgery, and he never seemed in tune with the Mike Nolan defensive program, either.
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