In 1998, the then Oakland Raiders drafted Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson fourth overall. Woodson was the first primarily defensive player to receive the honor and was part of a gifted draft class that boasted another first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee Peyton Manning.
Woodson was an instant star in Oakland, as the heir apparent to a defensive backfield that needed a new identity, Woodson donned the highly regarded number 24, which was most notably worn by Woodson’s mentor and Hall of Fame corner Willie Brown.
As we reflect on the illustrious career of the 8-time All-Pro, here are his greatest moments in the Silver and Black.
Raiders Charles Woodson named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
As a top-10 pick, the spotlight was shining on Woodson the moment he stepped onto the field. As a WR/DB at the University of Michigan, Woodson was touted for his incredible athletic ability. Woodson was never a player to shy from adversity or to allow himself to get down, and in his first rookie game, he was targeted three times, and the Chiefs got the best of him on those tries including a 30-yard touchdown by Andre Rison.
Instead of folding under pressure, Woodson attacked the opposition and blanketed the receivers for the remainder of the game. Woodson’s eye for the field is what made him a naturally gifted athlete, and his play from college translated well into the NFL.
In Woodson’s rookie season, he accumulated five interceptions including one returned for a touchdown and two forced fumbles. Woodson was an instant spark to the Raiders’ defense and became a highly feared and respected force instantly.