By Tim Graham
It's hard to illustrate Buffalo Bills center Eric Wood's impact with stats. You can't compare the team's rushing averages with him to without him. Wood went down with a knee injury one week before running back Fred Jackson was lost for the season.
But according to organizations that grade offensive linemen, Wood was among the best centers in the NFL last year before he got hurt. Sacks allowed is a subjective stat, but ProFootballFocus.com and STATS Inc. each charted him for zero. PFF tagged him with one quarterback hit and just two hurries. He committed one holding penalty.
Those numbers are impressive on the surface, but then consider Wood played against these formidable fronts: New York Giants (Super Bowl champs, tied for third in sacks), Philadelphia Eagles (tied for first in sacks), Cincinnati Bengals (fifth), Dallas Cowboys (tied for seventh) and Washington Redskins (tied for 10th). He also tangled with talented AFC East nose tackles Vince Wilfork and Sione Pouha.
Wood was selected with the draft pick the Bills received from the Eagles in exchange for perennial Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters.
Selected in the first round (28th overall) of the 2009 draft.
Hint about No. 24
He's a target of ridicule for opposing fans, but quarterbacks still have to be aware of his location on every snap.