Xavier Woods - Carolina Panthers S
Austin Corbett wasn't the only notable veteran returning to the lineup in Week 8. The Carolina Panthers were thrilled to welcome back starting safety Xavier Woods, which instantly solidified the backend of their secondary still missing free-agent signing Vonn Bell.
Woods is not the biggest name and doesn't get the limelight he deserves. However, that does not detract from what an integral role he plays as an instinctive presence and exceptional communicator within Ejiro Evero's 3-4 base scheme.
It didn't look like Woods missed a beat versus the Houston Texans. His positional sense was first class and when the time came to make tackles, the former sixth-round pick laid the wood with his customary efficiency.
Woods has been nothing short of exceptional to start the season despite missing a few games. He looks tailormade for Evero's defensive demands and the player's phenomenal 83.9 grade from Pro Football Focus is another strong indicator of how well he's performing currently.
Hopefully, Bell won't miss much more time and he can resume his highly productive safety partnership with Woods. Until then, the Panthers can relax safe in the knowledge they have at least one genuinely consistent performer at the position.
The performance levels on Sunday got a significant shot in the arm thanks to Woods' return. Others gain more in the way of adulation, but the Louisiana Tech product remains a model of consistency nonetheless.