Red Sox

Undersized, overperforming Woodside could be a late-round gem

Undersized, overperforming Woodside could be a late-round gem

The final installment of a five-part series looking at quarterbacks - and possible heirs to Tom Brady as the starter - the Patriots could draft. 

PREVIOUSLY IN THE SERIES:

I’ll just come out and say this right off the top: I am a fan of Logan Woodside. The Toledo quarterback has a little magic in him. Just pop in the tape of the Rockets' loss to the University of Miami. That was when the Hurricanes were in the middle of their climb into the top five in the entire country. All Woodside did that day was chuck three touchdowns passes to no interceptions while completing 28 of 48 throws. Yes, Toledo ended up losing, but did lead 16-10 at the half. That’s a MAC school that was doing that. 

The first thing that catches your eyes about Woodside is his quick release. The ball comes out cleanly and quickly, often times with good anticipation. It’s that release that allows the slight quarterback - Woodside is just 6-1, 202 pounds - to put the ball into places you wouldn’t think he’d be able and to throw receivers open, a pretty important trait in the NFL.

Then there are those feet. Woodside ran an offense that had a fair share of RPOs (run/pass options) and deftly handled the football and has the footwork needed in those situations. He showed a willingness to stand in the pocket in the face of the rush but could slide side-to-side or step up and still deliver the ball with accuracy.

There’s no stat that measures another one of Woodside’s strengths but it’s real. The kid fights. He’s had to do it throughout his career. He lost his job not just once, but twice at Toledo but still emerged to become an All-MAC performer in his final two seasons and lead the Rockets to their first league title in more than a decade. That part of his makeup is real and it’s spectacular. 

Of course, it’s going to be hard for coaches and GMs to get past Woodside’s lack of size. While there are a few shorter, slighter QBs who have had or are having terrific NFL careers - Drew Brees and Russell Wilson jump to mind immediately - there isn’t a long list. Based on his size alone, Woodside will fall down many a draft board.

Then there’s the arm. It’s not great. The release helps make up for it but it's a measurable that will be held against Woodside. The tape also reveals it, especially on balls outside the numbers. Toledo would help mitigate some of those issues by putting Woodside on the move. That’s not a common element in many NFL offenses. Woodside would also try and make up for it himself but that led to some overstriding which then hurt accuracy. He’s spent the winter and spring working on marrying the lower half to his very sound upper half and if Toledo’s pro day was any indication, there was progress made but that still bears watching.

So, what will it take to pluck Woodside in the draft? Well, he’s a third-day guy at best and there remains the possibility that he could go undrafted. I personally don’t think that will be the case, but I’m not controlling any draft boards. I could see him being a fit for the Pats in either the sixth (pick 210) or the seventh round (pick 219). Hey Bill, take my advice on this one and just make the call. You’ll thank me later.

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J.D. Martinez states without equivocation that Red Sox will be exonerated by MLB investigation

J.D. Martinez states without equivocation that Red Sox will be exonerated by MLB investigation

SPRINGFIELD -- For five hours on Saturday morning at Winter Weekend, Red Sox players and coaches delivered basically the same message in regards to the 2018 cheating scandal: We're not at liberty to say anything until the league finishes its investigation.

And then J.D. Martinez stepped in front of the cameras.

The slugging DH, who earlier this offseason chose to remain in Boston rather than exercise an opt-out in his contract, minced no words when asked if the Red Sox did anything wrong during their championship 2018 season.

"You know, it sucks, to be honest with you," he said of the investigation. "It does suck. But you know what? I know I'm excited for the investigation to be over with just so that they can see that there was nothing going on here."

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So he believes the team is innocent of the charges that it used the replay room to steal opposing signs in real time?

"I believe that, yes," Martinez said.

And what gives Martinez this confidence, despite a report to the contrary in The Athletic claiming that the Red Sox stole signs?

"Because I was in there," he said. "I saw what was. . . . Straight up, everyone seems to forget that in 2017 and '16 this team was a really good team. This team won 93 games those two years and then we just got better."

Martinez spoke without hesitation, and also saluted departed manager Alex Cora, while offering some insight into why Cora decided to leave the team.

"Kind of heartbroken about it," he said. "I talked to him before and I understood his side of it. He didn't want to be a distraction going into the season. I know it was wearing on him and his family, so I obviously feel for him and I wish him the best. But I know he played a big, big role for our team and he was one of my favorites, if not my favorite manager that I've had. It's going to be tough."

Mike Lowell says he'd love to take job as Red Sox manager temporarily if it brought Alex Cora back

Mike Lowell says he'd love to take job as Red Sox manager temporarily if it brought Alex Cora back

Mike Lowell would check a lot of the boxes the Red Sox would be looking for in their managerial search. The popular former Red Sox third baseman is a Cuban-American who speaks Spanish and English and is media-savvy as an analyst for the MLB Network. 

Still, there's one condition he has that will probably take Lowell out of the running. 

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The 2007 World Series MVP and 2018 inductee into the team's Hall of Fame has no managerial experience, but told WEEI's Rob Bradford in a text message, "I would love to if I knew it was just for a year and Cora was guaranteed to come back."

Alex Cora, a Red Sox teammate of Lowell's for three seasons (2006-08), was let go by on Tuesday after he was named as the central figure in Major League Baseball's investigation of sign-stealing by the Houston Astros when Cora was their bench coach in 2017. Cora is also alleged to have brought a similar system to Boston when he became manager before the 2018 season. MLB is continuing to investigate the allegations against the Red Sox and it will likely result in a suspension of one season or longer for Cora.

Former Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were each suspended for a season by MLB and subsequently fired by Houston.

With Cora facing perhaps a longer punishment, or perhaps even a lifetime ban from baseball -- and from Red Sox ownership's telling silence when asked if Cora would ever manage in the majors again -- Lowell's plan of temporarily filling in until Cora's return isn't likely to fly.