Unlike with Matt Barkley, answering the question of where Robert Woods will be drafted is somewhat convoluted. The USC wide receiver was a standout at the NFL Combine back in February, as he put on a clinic in catching drills, firmly asserting himself as the receiver with two of, if not the best hands in the draft.
Much like Barkley, Woods was considered a first round pick a year ago, though a decline of 35 catches from his sophomore to junior season has led scouts to question Woods’s role in an NFL offense. At USC, he wound up taking a backseat to Marqise Lee in 2012, switching from the Trojans’ featured receiver at flanker, to the possession receiver in the split-end position.
All things considered, Woods is arguably more effective as a split-end or even a slot receiver, given his skill set. He’s top-tier route runner through traffic with excellent hands, but he isn’t the physical specimen that typical No. 1 wide receivers end up being. In turn, that’s affected his draft status, as the NFL loves their 6-foot-5 behemoth receivers in the mold of a Calvin Johnson, or even a slightly shorter Cordarrelle Patterson.
Having said that, Woods could realistically go anywhere from the lower end of the first round to possibly even as far down as the mid-to-low third round.
ESPN talking head Mel Kiper Jr. asserted back in February that Woods’s draft stock would be strictly tied to his 40-yard dash time. Kiper argued that a good time would put him into the first round, while a poor time would pit him in the third.
At the Combine, Woods ran a 4.51 in the forty, and didn’t officially run at USC’s Pro Day on March 27th.
Now, as for those projections, they’re across the board, as you can expect. You could look for the Minnesota Vikings to take a chance on Woods, however. The Vikes traded Percy Harvin earlier in the offseason and they could be looking to use the first round pick they acquired from the Seattle Seahawks on Woods, as they now have both the 23rd and 25th pick in the first round, sandwiching the Colts, who sit at 24. Should Woods get passed Minnesota, it’s anyone’s game, though Charley Casserly of NFL.com sees Woods splitting the Minnesota difference and finding himself snagged by the Colts at 24.
Charley Casserly of NFL.com: 1st Round, 24th overall to Indianapolis Colts [Link]
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com: 1st Round, 27th overall to Houston Texans [Link]
Rob Rang of CBS Sports: 2nd Round, 32nd overall to Baltimore Ravens [Link]
Walter Cherepinsky of Walter Football: 2nd Round, 41st overall to Buffalo Bills [Link]
Josh Hill of FanSided.com: 2nd Round, 52nd overall to Minnesota Vikings [Link]
Tam Bradford of Chicago Now: 2nd Round, 59th overall to New England Patriots [Link]
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports: 2nd Round, 60th overall to Atlanta Falcons [Link]