NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: USC WR Robert Woods
|03.18.13 at 7:11 am ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.
Position: Wide Receiver
Weight: 201 pounds
Achievements: 2012 All-Pac-10 second team, 2011 All-America first team, 2011 Biletnikoff Award finalist, 2010 Freshman All-America first team, 2010 Pac-10 Offensive Freshman of the Year, 2010 All-Pac-10 first team (kick returner), USC all-time receptions leader (252)
What he brings: Woods isn’t the tallest or the fastest athletic specimen in this wide receiver class, but he’s likely the most complete and balanced. While he won’t score any A-pluses on his report card from scouts, Woods likely won’t get anything lower than a B. The USC product features good, but not elite, size and speed with average strength for a receiver. He also boasts a great set of hands, is dangerous on screens and in the open field, is a willing and effective blocker and can go up and get the ball. The one area where Woods truly shines, though, is his polished route-running and his smoothness and acceleration out of breaks. While another ‘quick but not fast’ guy isn’t the true no. 1 threat Pats fans have been clamoring for, it is the type of receiver that Tom Brady can find success with quickly.
With a time of 4.51 seconds, Woods scored a resounding ‘meh’ in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine. On top of that, he went on to put up a time of 7.15 seconds in the Belichickian 3-cone drill, which was tied for worst of the receivers who participated. However, Woods did impress scouts during onfield drills, showing that he’s likely a game day-speed type of player. Woods has drawn multiple comparisons to the Packers‘ James Jones while Woods himself has made comparisons to the Colts’ Reggie Wayne.
Probably the biggest knock on Woods is his injury history and his inability to come back completely from injuries. During his sophomore season, the receiver dealt with lingering injuries in addition to undergoing offseason surgery on an ankle injury suffered while playing pickup basketball. He was also the center of controversy surrounding a concussion test after testing a huge hit against Utah and then stumbling and falling on his way off of the field. Woods was allowed to re-enter the game soon after, with rumors swirling that he’d actually failed a concussion test.
Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-2
Notes: Woods kicked off his career at USC with a bang, starting all 13 games as a true freshman before becoming the team’s top receiving threat as a sophomore. During his junior season, though, Woods became overshadowed by sophomore Marquise Lee, who ended up taking his spot at the team’s no. 1 target.
While not a great sign for Woods, there’s no shame in being the the second-best receiver on the team when your teammate wins the Biletnikoff Award for being the best receiver in the country. After the team’s loss in the 2012 Hyundai Sun Bowl, Woods told the press that he would enter the draft early and that he’d accomplished everything wanted to in college. However, he did address the situation with Lee by stating, “If the coaches wanted to keep me another year, they would’ve probably got me the ball,” a quote from which he quickly backpedaled in the days following.
At this point in the process, Woods doesn’t grade out as a first-round lock. While some mocks have the Patriots targeting him at the end of the first round, he’s a heavy candidate for the Pats to go after him early in the second round should they make the ever-unpopular decision to trade down again.
Related articles: LA Times: Robert Woods isn’t complaining about reduced role
Video: Here’s a collection of highlights from Woods’ junior season.