4 extremely underrated Panthers players entering 2022 training camp

(Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports) Xavier Woods
(Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports) Xavier Woods /
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Carolina Panthers
(Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports) Xavier Woods /

Xavier Woods – Carolina Panthers S

Another signing that went somewhat under the radar this offseason was the arrival of Xavier Woods from the Minnesota Vikings in free agency. This provides Jeremy Chinn with a reliable partner on the backend within a secondary that could be set for great things in 2022 under the leadership of returning coach Steve Wilks.

Woods’ career prospects looked in doubt after he was cut loose by the Dallas Cowboys following a down year in 2020. As it turned out, signing for a defensive-minded head coach in Mike Zimmer was a tremendous move and allowed the former sixth-round pick to bounce back in fine style.

The Louisiana Tech product went over 100 tackles for the first time in his career to go along with 10 passes defended and three interceptions. Woods conceded a career-low 60 percent of targets thrown his way and also earned a creditable 66.4 grade from Pro Football Focus.

Playing alongside perennial All-Pro Harrison Smith had a positive impact on Woods. Hopefully, performing next to a dynamic force like Chinn will maintain his outstanding consistency.

Woods hasn’t been seen at the facility as yet as the Carolina Panthers allowed him extra time off to deal with a family matter. So there is a real sense of intrigue surrounding what the player and Chinn can bring once they familiarize themselves with each other.

At just 26 years old, Woods’ best days are clearly ahead of him. If everything goes smoothly in training camp then one cannot overstate the impact he could make when the real action arrives.