January 13, 2014

Rookie of the Year: Don Woods, 1974

Halfback, San Diego Chargers



Age:  23
College: New Mexico
Height: 6’1”   Weight: 210

Prelude:
A quarterback in college, Woods was chosen by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round of the 1974 NFL draft. The Packers converted him into a running back, and while he showed promise, Woods was cut at the end of the preseason. He was claimed by the Chargers and saw his first action in the third week of the season, with stunning results.

1974 Season Summary
Appeared in 12 of 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Rushing
Attempts – 227 [7]
Most attempts, game - 27 (for 117 yds.) at Oakland 11/17
Yards – 1162 [2]
Most yards, game – 157 yards (on 18 carries) vs. Miami 9/29
Average gain – 5.1 [2]
TDs – 7 [8, tied with Mack Herron & Calvin Hill]
100-yard rushing games – 7

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 26      
Most receptions, game – 5 (for 66 yds.) vs. Chicago 12/8
Yards – 349
Most yards, game - 119 (on 3 catches) vs. Cleveland 11/3
Average gain – 13.4
TDs – 3
100-yard receiving games – 1

Kickoff Returns
Returns – 3
Yards – 61
Average per return – 20.3
TDs – 0

All-Purpose yards – 1572 [6]

Passing
Attempts – 3
Completions – 1
Yards – 28
TDs – 1
INT – 1

Scoring
TDs – 10 [7, tied with Isaac Curtis & Jon Keyworth]
Points – 60

Awards & Honors:
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: AP, PFWA
AFC Rookie of the Year: UPI, NEA, Sporting News

Chargers went 5-9 to finish fourth in the AFC West.

Aftermath:
The outstanding rookie season proved to be the best of Woods’ career. A knee injury that required surgery limited him to five games in 1975, in which he rushed for just 317 yards with a 3.6-yard average gain and caught 13 passes. While he lasted for another five years in the NFL, Woods never again gained more than 514 yards rushing in a season while twice catching 34 passes. He was dealt to the 49ers during the 1980 season, his last. Overall, Woods ended up with 3087 rushing yards on 763 carries, averaging 4.0 yards, caught 145 passes for 1358 yards, and scored a total of 21 touchdowns.

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Rookie of the Year Profiles feature players who were named Rookie of the Year in the NFL, AFL (1960-69), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press – Offense or Defense, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, or the league itself – Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year). 

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