Robert Woods Scouting Report: NFL Outlook for USC WR

Ryan Lownes@@ryanlownesFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2013

Robert Woods

Buffalo Bills

Second Round: 41st Pick

Though somewhat overshadowed by teammate Marqise Lee the last two years, Robert Woods leaves USC as one of the most productive receivers in school history.

A smooth, fluid athlete with adequate size, he has looked the part of an NFL receiver since stepping on campus as a freshman. He instantly achieved success against strong PAC-12 defenses, displaying excellent ball skills and ability after the catch.

Does Woods have the talent and physical tools to carry over that success to the next level? Or was he simply a product of the top college talent that surrounded him?

Strengths Weaknesses
+ Excellent body control - Lacks extraordinary size or speed
+ Large catch radius, routinely makes plays at full extension - Looked a bit sloppier, more mistake-prone in 2012
+ Picks up yards after the catch with balance and vision - Inconsistent route and blocking technique
+ Quick, nimble feet - Average workout numbers 



At 6’0 ½” and 200 lbs, Woods possesses an athletic build and solid size for the next level.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, his workout numbers were fairly average across the board. With a 33.5” vertical jump, 9’9” broad jump, 4.47 short shuttle and 7.15 three-cone time, many will view him as a mediocre athlete for the next level.

That said, however, he is smooth and fluid on film. Though he is not particularly dynamic and does play to his 4.51 40-yard dash time, Woods is a long-strider with decent acceleration and speed. At his pro day, he turned in an outstanding workout while improving some of his times from Indianapolis.



Woods comes from a strong sports background with both his father and grandfather playing college football at Grambling. He and teammates spent five days in Haiti in 2012, assisting with relief. On the field, he appears to play with competitiveness and can be seen helping younger players line up correctly.

While he has not missed games due to injury, Woods’ durability could be a question for some. He played his sophomore season through lingering ankle, elbow and shoulder injuries. At the conclusion of 2011, he underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair his ankle.



At USC, Woods was used all over the formation, winning both in the slot and on the outside. The Trojans typically operated with Matt Barkley under center, three receivers, an in-line tight end and a single back. During his junior season, the offense simplified due to an inconsistent offensive line. This meant more looks on screen passes and drags for the receivers.



Woods is a long-strider who evaporates cushion and creates separation with good quickness. He is sudden, demonstrating light feet to beat the jam. He quickly enters short routes and shows the ability to win inside position, making him an asset in third-down and red-zone situations. 

While he can shake man coverage at the line of scrimmage, the timing of his routes is occasionally affected.


Ball Skills

One of Woods’ most notable characteristics is that he possesses outstanding ball skills.

With excellent body control, he effortlessly adjusts to poorly thrown passes and displays the ability to make back-shoulder plays.

He plucks the ball out of the air, showing natural hands and phenomenal reflexes.

For his size, he has a very wide catch radius, routinely making plays at full extension.



A fluid athlete, Woods shows the ability to sinks his hips, moving fluidly in and out of his breaks. He tends to run crisp short-intermediate routes but is sometimes deliberate in his movement on deeper passes.

In 2012, his route technique was slightly inconsistent, rounding off more patterns. Unless Woods improves in this area, he is not likely to be a deep threat at the next level.



Woods is a natural hands catcher who easily makes plays outside his frame. He has the occasional focus drop, but does not seem to be deficient in this area. Even in traffic or while being hit, he shows the ability to pull the ball down.


After the Catch

A smooth, fluid athlete with good acceleration and very light feet, Woods excels with the ball in his hands.

He shows vision and excels finding room after the catch, occasionally breaking off huge chunks of yardage.

What he lacks in terms of an explosive top gear, he partially makes up for with the ability to break tackles and extend plays.

Woods has good balance and lowers his shoulder to fight for every inch. He also utilizes a stiff arm to keep would-be tacklers at bay.



Woods is an attentive and willing blocker. He does not drive defenders but does a nice job of picking up and sustaining blocks. He must improve his technique and use his lower body as well as his arms, but he gives you something to work with.


Future Role/Scheme Versatility

As long as Woods shores up a few inconsistencies in his game, he has the talent to become a solid NFL starter. I see him as a second or third option in an NFL passing offense, capable of contributing both outside and in the slot. He had some success as a deep threat in college, but may lack the speed to burn NFL defenses over the top. Still, he should be a reliable player whose ability to create yardage after the catch could help open up an offense.

An additional note, Woods returned both kicks and punts while at USC and may be able to occupy those roles if required to at the next level.


Draft Projection: Second-Third Round


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