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Q&A with Hustle Belt: Bengals QB Logan Woodside could be the NFL’s next Case Keenum

A MAC football expert thinks Logan Woodside could be the next Case Keenun. Why? Find out here!

NFL: Combine Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

We’re joined today by Hustle Belt MAC writer Steve Helwick to talk about former Toledo quarterback and Bengals seventh round draft pick Logan Woodside.

Woodside started for three seasons at Toledo and racked up 10,514 passing yards, 93 touchdowns and 25 interceptions in the process. He had a 65.1 completion percentage and averaged nine yards per throw.

But what should we know beyond the stats? Helwick already shared his insight on fellow MAC player turned Bengal Darius Phillips, and now it’s time to learn more about Woodside’s college career with the Rockets.

Rebecca Toback: What do you think about the Bengals’ addition of Logan Woodside in Round 7 of the draft?

Steve Helwick: Woodside is a solid addition to the Bengals’ QB depth chart, especially with backup AJ McCarron heading to Buffalo. If Marvin Lewis decides to keep three quarterbacks on the roster, Woodside will likely have to beat out Jeff Driskel — who has yet to take an NFL snap. Woodside is decent value for a seventh round pick, as he posted video game numbers throughout his college career, including an FBS-high 45 touchdowns in the 2016 season. He was a projected fourth to sixth round pick prior to his Dollar General Bowl performance and NFLPA Collegiate Bowl practices, so the Bengals were fortunate to land the MAC Offensive Player of the Year with the eighth-to-last pick of the 2018 draft.

RT: What do you see as some of his strengths?

SH: The best part of Woodside’s game is his decision-making. He plays with high intellect and has a gift for reading coverages. Woodside finished 2016 with a 5-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio and threw 28 touchdowns and just two interceptions in the first 13 games of his senior campaign last fall. He has a cannon arm and excels at throwing the deep ball, where he often connected with his favorite target Diontae Johnson in college. At the peak of his Toledo days, Woodside completed 69.1 percent of his passes, demonstrating his spectacular accuracy. It wasn’t uncommon to see Woodside finish with over 300 passing yards or four touchdowns in a game, and his excellent stat lines pushed him past Bruce Gradkowski to No. 1 on Toledo’s all-time passing yards list.

RT: How about any weaknesses?

SH: Like many stars from Group of Five conferences, Woodside is often overlooked due to his size. He stands 6’2” and only weighs 201 pounds — slightly smaller than the preferred size of an NFL quarterback. He’s also a pure pocket passer. Mobility around the pocket and the ability to escape pressure weren’t Woodside’s strengths at Toledo. But the biggest question mark of his college career arose in his final game in blue and gold. In the 2017 Dollar General Bowl, Woodside’s 11-3 MAC champion Toledo Rockets were shut out 34-0 by Appalachian State, who entered the game as touchdown underdogs. The senior threw for 124 yards, three interceptions, and took a handful of sacks in the abysmal performance. We haven’t seen Woodside on a meaningful playing field since then, so it’s important he puts that game behind him and comes out with fire during training camp and preseason.

RT: Did he have any major injuries/injuries of note while in college?

SH: Woodside never suffered a major injury in college. In fact, an injury to quarterback Phillip Ely in 2014 is what paved the way for Woodside to see playing time as a sophomore. Despite winning eight of his final 10 games including a bowl victory, Woodside was benched upon Ely’s return in 2015 and elected to take a redshirt season. He started all 27 games Toledo has played since Ely’s graduation.

RT: Is he a capable leader, do you see him as someone NFL players would rally around?

SH: Woodside’s a capable leader because of his high level of confidence. He’s been an undersized quarterback who has been doubted for the majority of his football career. The Frankfort, KY native received offers from Toledo, Ohio, Troy, and WKU — getting snubbed by all Power Five schools. But the constant state of being overlooked hasn’t affected the 23-year old. Woodside led his team to three bowl games in three seasons as Toledo’s starter and claimed the 2017 MAC Championship. He was the focal point of Toledo’s offense and he seems to make receivers around him better. When the Rockets’ star receiver Cody Thompson suffered a midseason leg injury last year, Woodside had no problem running the offense through Diontae Johnson, Jon’Vea Johnson, and Danzel McKinley-Lewis — all of whom seemingly improved in Woodside’s presence throughout the season.

RT: Do you think he has the potential to be a starting NFL quarterback?

SH: Woodside seems to resemble former Vikings and current Broncos quarterback Case Keenum in a lot of ways. Keenum was also a longtime starter in a Group of Five conference who put up ridiculous numbers in college. Standing just 6’1” and 207 pounds, Keenum was an undrafted free agent, but worked his way up to a starting-caliber quarterback after receiving opportunities with a variety of teams. I think Woodside’s career could develop in a similar manner. If injuries or poor QB play occur on Woodside’s roster(s), he may receive some valuable chances to demonstrate his on-field abilities. If he performs similarly to Keenum, a team may take a gamble on Woodside and claim him as a franchise quarterback (as Denver just did with Keenum). Just like Keenum, his eye-popping numbers at the collegiate level show he can play the game of football well — he just has to capitalize on his opportunities.

RT: Anything else Bengals fans would want to know?

SH: Woodside is the first MAC quarterback selected in the NFL Draft since the Ravens chose Keith Wenning in the sixth round from Ball State in 2014. He went on to play for the Bengals for some time in 2015. The last Toledo quarterback to play in the NFL was Bruce Gradkowski, who spent two seasons as Dalton’s backup in Cincinnati from 2011-12.