A player has to be notably gifted, superior beyond even NFL standards to do that.
He knew it. And he never tried to play the game with more thought than instinct. He said he never wanted to know too much about an opponent or know too much even about his own scheme. He played football, he said, relying on his skill and instincts. He let them guide him, lead him. That took him to great places. Great heights. Low places, too, like the Tom Brady-sack-that-wasn’t-Tuck-Rule 2001 AFC championship game and play that helped define Woodson.
He is satisfied that he played 18 NFL seasons and remained a productive player. He was not just hanging on until the end but still producing. Early in his career his teammates included Hall of Fame players Rod Woodson and Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. He played with superior cornerbacks Eric Allen and Albert Lewis. They never had long conversations about the game. They just watched each other and learned from each other.
San Francisco 49ers: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
Lynch entered the draft following three very good years starting for a Memphis team that went from being poor to winning 19 games the last two seasons. Lynch is a tall and athletic passer who has considerably more potential than Goff. He’s not a perfectly refined passer at this point, but his tools and accuracy are too intriguing to pass up.
Miami Dolphins: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
Miami doesn’t have a lot of talent at cornerback other than Brent Grimes, who will be 33 at the start of next season. Some consider Hargreaves the draft’s best cornerback. For the Dolphins, he could slide into the starting lineup straight away and provide an immediate upgrade to the pass defense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
It’s worth monitoring Alexander’s draft decision. He’s only a redshirt sophomore but could make a name for himself on a national stage in next week’s College Football Playoff Championship. Alexander’s instincts are impressive, and only overtaken by his athleticism.