4 Carolina Panthers players who’ve regressed after early 2022 promise
By Dean Jones
Xavier Woods – Carolina Panthers S
After bouncing back in the best possible way with the Minnesota Vikings in 2021, the free-agent arrival of Xavier Woods came with significant intrigue. The Carolina Panthers were desperate for a stable partner alongside Jeremy Chinn at the safety position, something the former sixth-round selection provided early on with a fantastic opening to the campaign.
Woods provided a level of assurance that was sorely lacking previously. His experience also came in handy from an organizational standpoint pre-snap and within a relatively young locker room on the defensive side of the ball.
While the Lousiana Tech product missed a couple of games through injury, his production’s tailed off in recent weeks. Woods might be in line for his second-straight season with more than 100 tackles, but consistency dropped when the Panthers needed him most.
Again, this is less concerning than some on the roster. Woods’ first season in Carolina would be classed as solid if not spectacular overall, but it might be worth bringing in another talented defensive back from the college ranks to further boost the backend.
This bears more significance if Carolina moves Chinn back to the second level. Something that would increase the pressure further on Woods in 2023 for good measure.
Hopefully, Woods can shake off the rust after returning to the lineup in Week 15. Otherwise, the Panthers could get exposed against passing attacks capable of churning up big yardage quickly.