|Batman at USC|
The Bucs and his USC coach John McKay traded for him and he played the next nine seasons with the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers—the first six as a starter beginning as a right outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense, which may have been his best position.
In 1977 the Bucs switched to a 3-4 and he became an inside 'backer, and a good one—he led NFL linebackers with four picks. On his side, he was often the "Will" 'backer when the right outside linebacker blitzed. In the Bucs scheme Wood was able to get penetration, often by "backdooring" blocker, getting into a backfield and making tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
In fact, no one had more in the NFL in 1978 and 1979 (29). From 1977-81, his five years as the starting weakside linebacker, he averaged 114 tackles with 9½ of them run/pass stuffs. The Bucs defense was solid every year anchored by Lee Roy Selmon and others with the strength of the defense the linebackers. They covered, they hit, tackled, could blitz and scrape—anyone from that era will tell you they were good. Very good.
In 1982 strongside inside linebacker Cecil Johnson moved to the weakside and Scot Brantley came in as the strong side inside guy. This left Batman in the role as a backup.
He was not as good against the run as he had been and Brantly and Johnson were better in the base than Johnson and Woods. So, he sat and would fill in and play some passing downs. His NFL career was over.
Wood did catch on with the Jacksonville Bulls of the USFL in 1984 and played 16 games for them.
His NFL career arc was not unlike Hugh Green's or Jerry Robinson's. He was incredibly dominant in college but was very good for a while in the NFL before tailing off. Also like those two he's likely to be good today in the $ (money backer) role so many teams use, a hybrid LBe/safety kind of guy who maybe lacks some size but has great smarts and quickness and plays in sub-packages roaming the middle or hook areas of the zones.
Today, putting maybe 10-20 pounds on them, they'd be like Lavonte David or poor men's Derrick Brooks or a Seth Joyner from a past generation.
As it was Wood had a worthy career and was part of a really good, even great at times, defense. He may not have had the kind of NFL career he had in college but what he did was pretty good.
Congrats to Batman. Not bad.