Heading into the post-draft signing frenzy, it would have been reasonable to assume two things: the Raiders would be signing linebackers and linebackers would be interested in signing with Oakland.
Truth be told, neither of these things proved to be true. In fact, the Raiders signed just one UDFA linebacker immediately following the draft: Xavier Woodson-Luster from Arkansas State. So what do we know about Woodson-Luster and does he have a chance to make an impact?
One interesting note on Woodson-Luster is that he was apparently an ACT Score away from an SEC scholarship. Auburn told him if he scored a 19 on the test, they’d offer — and, well, apparently he didn’t score too well. To be fair, he admits he was ‘undisciplined’ at the time, and as a result he ended up at Arkansas State instead.
Weight: 219 lbs
Bench: 18 reps
To put it simply: production. In four seasons at Arkansas State, he recorded 293 tackles — 166 of which were of the solo variety. He also added five sacks, four fumbles forced and two interceptions.
It also encouraging to note that he played well in big games. Facing off against Auburn last season, he recorded 10 tackles (7 solo) — so it’s not as if he’s only putting numbers up against ‘lesser’ competition.
Having said all that, he is playing in the Sun Belt conference. Yes he was a two-time second-team all conference player, but this was in a conference that saw just five players drafted in 2017.
One reason he probably wasn’t drafted was his size — while he ran a similar 40-time to Zach Cunningham, he’s a full two inches shorter and 15 pounds lighter. If you’re that much smaller and not jumping off the page athletically (and he isn’t), his status as an UDFA makes sense.
What he brings to the Raiders:
At best, he’s a special teamer, but given the complete lack of depth at linebacker, I think the practice squad is the most likely landing spot here. Essentially, this is a lottery ticket — is it possible he was in the wrong system or playing down to the level around him? Sure. Is it likely? Not really.