Robert Woods Needs Strong Pro Day to Cement First-Round Value

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Robert Woods Needs Strong Pro Day to Cement First-Round Value
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Will Robert Woods get selected in Round 1?

Robert Woods is teetering on the fence between Round 1 and Round 2 of the 2013 NFL draft.

An impressive performance at USC's pro day, though, will put him over the top and into the first round.

Possessing the size frame at 6', 201 pounds Woods has the look of a No. 2 or slot receiver. Because he's not the most emphatic of deep threats, his ability to split zones underneath and get yards after the catch is appealing.

Combined over the past two seasons he caught 185 passes for 2,141 yards and scored 26 touchdowns.

Without question this previous campaign was disappointing, but Woods also was coming off surgery. According to Pedro Moura of ESPNLosAngeles.com last June, Woods missed quite a few offseason workouts:

Robert Woods will continue to sit out summer workouts after an MRI revealed lingering inflammation in his surgically repaired ankle, the All-American said Friday.

Woods underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle in December after being hampered throughout the 2011 season. He initially planned to return for spring practice in March, but his recovery has taken longer than anticipated.

Clearly this impacted his season and Woods did not incredibly bolster his draft stock at the combine. Running 4.51 seconds on the 40-yard dash in February, Woods only clocked 4.47 seconds on the 20-yard shuttle and pumped out 14 reps on the bench press.

Obviously he needs to build acceleration, more short-area quickness and get stronger. The tougher NFL defensive backs will challenge him at the line and win single coverage situations unless these areas continue to improve.

Running a sub-4.5 40-yard dash and a sub-4.4 20-yard shuttle during his pro day will display enough burst to sneak into Round 1. At the same time, that will show he kept putting in the work since the combine.

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As for the field, his route-running ability becomes an advantage in non-press coverage looks. Plus Woods has proven consistent reliability over the middle and inside the red zone. His willingness to run block will also help regarding marketability.

Back in early March, Mark Eckel of the Trenton Times via NewJersey.com got a Scout's perspective on Woods, "“He’s more quick, than fast. But I like him. He makes plays. He’s an ideal slot guy.”

In short, expect Woods to up his draft status during his pro day.

This class of receivers doesn't present an immense amount of top-heavy talent, which leaves the opportunity open to seize a Round 1 spot. It's simply a matter of proving that on Wednesday.

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