Free agency starts today, and I'm putting out the vibe that the Texans need to take a good, long look at (okay, one more!) scrappy free agent Danny Woodhead. The 28-year-old running back is entering true free agency for the first time in his career after spending the past three years with the New England Patriots. He was signed to the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2008.
Woodhead is a product of Chadron State University, a Division II school in Chadron, NE. He put up some pretty remarkable numbers (listed below from his Wiki page) and twice won the Harlon Hill trophy, given to the most valuable player in Division II.
Danny Woodhead - Chadron St. University
Despite his record-setting numbers, Woodhead didn't receive an invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine, nor did his impressive Pro Day at Nebraska convince any general managers to select him in the NFL Draft. After signing with the Jets and battling injuries his first year, a change in leadership brought in new head coach Rex Ryan, and Woodhead had to prove to himself to a coach that hadn't signed him. For the full story, and another reason to pity the Jets, check out this scathing article explaining why he was cut. Here's a snippet:
Why did things unfurl the way they did? Because keeping Woodhead (a player Ryan inherited) would have meant drafting [running back Joe] McKnight was a mistake, and Ryan never cops to personnel mistakes.
Of course, Bill Belichick and the Patriots scooped him up a day before they were scheduled to play the Jets in 2010. He would soon become an all purpose weapon for Tom Brady, wracking up modest but incredibly useful yardage both running and catching. His shiftiness and speed allowed the Patriots to be creative in using him on the field. Take a look:
Danny Woodhead Highlights Patriots (Career) (via Maynard1Wallace05)
Put it on mute and admire the moves: great lateral agility makes him a nightmare to tackle in the open field, superb vision lets him navigate through the behemoths blocking for him, and his top end speed makes him uncoverable by linebackers. He would be a perfect addition to the Texans' zone blocking scheme and would give the offense a versatile weapon to compliment Arian Foster. The possible departure of fullback/tight end James Casey via free agency would leave the Texans lacking in the Swiss Army Knife roster spot. While no one would ask the 5'9" 200 pound Woodhead to run block, his talents would certainly add new wrinkles to Gary Kubiak's offensive playbook.
My Danny Woodhead man-crush first started when I saw the video of him selling his own jerseys at a store to unknowing customers. I've followed his career ever since and even drafted him to my fantasy football team one year (big mistake in a non-PPR league, by the way). Our distant cousins from Corn Nation had a nice interview with him from his college days that endeared him to me even more in researching this article. In addition to his football skills, Houston fans would grow to love his humility and charisma.
In short, you can consider this article an open letter to Mr. Woodhead. Think Houston, sir, because you will be loved. You're an underdog story, and so are we. Have your people call their people, and make it happen.
What say you, readers? How much would you want Woodhead on the squad? Would he fit in? The first person to mention our salary cap restrictions shall be exiled to some terrible location via catapult.