High School and College Career
Colby Wooden, who attended Archer High School, was rated a 3-star recruit and joined Auburn. As a freshman in 2019, Wooden saw action in just four games and played a total of 39 snaps for the Tigers. In this limited playing time, he managed to record just two tackles.
Wooden’s sophomore year was an entirely different story. In 2020, he played in 11 games and took part in a whopping 573 snaps for the Tigers. This increased playing time allowed him to showcase his skills, and he recorded 19 tackles and 12 assisted tackles. However, his greatest contribution was in pass-rushing. During the year, he chalked up 24 total pressures, which included 17 QB hurries, 3 QB hits, and 4 sacks. With impressive stats like these, it was clear that Wooden had become a key player on the Auburn defense.
Wooden’s junior year in 2021 was an even more impressive season for him. He played in 13 games and contributed on 591 snaps. During the year, he recorded 41 tackles and produced 41 total pressures, including 26 QB hurries, 8 QB hits, and 7 sacks.
In 2022, Wooden entered his senior year at Auburn. Despite the added pressure and attention as a senior player, he logged playing time in 12 games and played a total of 651 snaps for the Tigers. During the season, he added 33 tackles and 35 total pressures, which included 24 QB hurries, 5 QB hits, and 6 sacks.
Colby Wooden Scouting Report Introduction
Colby Wooden has been integral to Auburn’s defense, having started for the team for three consecutive seasons. He has also displayed his versatility by playing in different positions, moving from defensive end to defensive tackle. It is worth noting that Wooden’s productivity has remained consistent, having recorded 17 sacks in the three seasons he has played for Auburn.
One of Wooden’s standout qualities is his physicality, which is evident in his play in the interior trenches. He is a dependable run defender who has the potential to become even better in this area. Currently, his strength enables him to take contact and anchor down effectively. Additionally, Wooden utilizes a strong push-pull move to displace blockers, allowing him to reach his destination unimpeded. He also possesses excellent arm length and punch power, which he uses to maintain separation during one-on-one sequences.
Wooden is an effective pass rusher, displaying flashes of dominance in this aspect of the game. He has developed a variety of moves that enable him to defeat blockers swiftly and effectively, allowing him to pressure the opposing quarterback frequently. He is skilled at collapsing the pocket, which forces quarterbacks to make hurried decisions.
However, one weakness that Wooden exhibits is his inconsistency regarding pad level. He sometimes pops straight up at the snap, which is not to his advantage given his height of 6-foot-5. This creates more obstacles for him when facing blockers that have already established a low center of gravity. Wooden’s motor versus the run could also use some improvement. His inconsistency in this area may be attributed to the varied coaching styles he has experienced during his time at Auburn under three different coaches.
Notwithstanding Wooden’s weaknesses, his upside is massive. He has a combination of size and strength that enables him to be a valuable asset in defending run plays. Furthermore, his potential as a pass rusher is tantalizing, and he has the ability to become a pocket-collapser of note. He will greatly benefit from consistent coaching that will enable him to maintain his technique and leverage effectively. With the right guidance, Wooden has the chance to become a three-down defensive lineman that many teams will covet.
Colby Wooden’s ability to quickly move off the line of scrimmage with the flexibility to bend make him a difficult player to contain for offensive lines.
One of Wooden’s most notable attributes is his exceptional hand work, which allows him to quickly disengage from blockers and counter when his initial move is unsuccessful. Additionally, Wooden has a natural feel for setting up blockers and getting them off-balance.
He is capable of utilizing a variety of moves, but it is his strong finishing burst that is particularly noteworthy. Wooden has enough change-of-direction abilities to counter back inside when needed.
As a run defender, Wooden is just as effective as he is as a pass rusher. He has the power to hold his own at the point of attack and displays exceptional hand use. Wooden’s high motor allows him to maintain his intensity throughout the game, meaning he poses a constant threat for the opposing team.
When evaluating Colby Wooden’s potential as an edge rusher at the professional level, some limitations to his game must be considered. While he was able to dominate against college competition with his physical tools, there are areas where he will need to improve in order to become a truly elite player at the next level.
The first concern in Wooden’s game is his lack of elite speed and quickness off the edge. While he has shown the ability to overpower opponents in college physically, he may struggle to do so against the stronger and more technically sound offensive linemen he will face in the NFL. To make up for this, Wooden will need to develop moves to keep himself unpredictable and difficult to block.
Another area of Wooden’s game that needs improvement is his reaction time and ability to locate the ball against the run. At times in college, he appeared slow to recognize plays and could sometimes get caught out of position as a result. This could be particularly problematic at the next level, where offenses will be more sophisticated and capable of manipulating defenders with misdirection and play-action.
In the pass rush, Wooden must also develop a counter move or two in order to keep opposing linemen off balance. He has shown flashes of a powerful bull rush, but will need to add some finesse moves to his repertoire in order to keep blockers guessing. Additionally, he needs to make better use of his hands when attacking the quarterback, as this can be a crucial factor in shedding blocks and disrupting the pocket.
Overall, while Colby Wooden has some impressive physical traits that make him an intriguing prospect, there are clear areas of his game that need improvement if he hopes to become a dominant edge rusher in the NFL.
Colby Wooden is our 98th prospect on our draft big board.