Will Carroll is taking a look at the top draft picks in the 2013 NFL Draft with any medical questions. Carroll takes a look at the full spectrum of info, including injury history and exclusive medical insight from Dr. Neal ElAttrache, a medical consultant to many pro teams and the current L.A. Dodgers team physician.
Robert Woods is a 6'0", 201-pound wide receiver from Southern California.
Woods was worn down throughout his sophomore year with ankle, shoulder and elbow injuries. The ankle was the most serious and required surgery in December 2012, immediately following the USC season. It was his second ankle surgery.
While the ankle is the most serious and short-term concern, it is also the most easily addressed. Surgery was done to correct the problem and teams will look at his workouts to make sure that the ankle is healing properly and that he has regained the function he will need to succeed in the NFL.
Woods' combine performance was key to re-establishing himself as a possible top pick. His 4.42 40 time was impressive, but it was his performance in the cone drill that was closely watched. That time was also impressive, and at his pro day, Woods was able to better it slightly, showing there was still improvement in his ankle.
Woods also gained 11 pounds between the end of his season and the combine, showing that he was able to work out during his ankle rehab—a very positive sign. Woods had no other significant positives or negatives from his workouts, allowing his work on the field to stand on its own.
"After ankle surgery for a wide receiver, the one thing we'd be focused on is not the speed. It's the cone drills. Surgery can actually stiffen up an ankle and cause problems with lateral motion. If that checks out and the rest of the medical looks normal, the doctors should sign off on him." — Dr. Neal ElAttrache
B/R's Matt Miller has Woods going in the mid-to-late second round, which seems to be the consensus among draft experts. Woods helped his stock with good workouts, and his medical evaluations brought up no red flags. The value appears to be based on talent and fit now, with some upwards movement showing as teams feel more confident in Woods' status and with the drop of some other wide receiver prospects.
Woods' size has been a concern. He is not small, but he is slight, which has led to concerns about his durability when combined with the type of "banged up" injuries he dealt with at USC. His lack of strength may cause problems in press coverage and in downfield blocking. Using Woods on special teams will increase the risks, and if he acts as a returner, there's potential for more big hits.
Some are concerned that Woods will be a similar player to DeSean Jackson in terms of style and limitations. Sending Woods across the middle or into larger linebackers on bubble screens could expose him to hits that his frame simply can't handle, limiting his usage.
These reports were compiled from various cited sources. All draft data is courtesy of NFL.com. Inside Look is exclusive to B/R from Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic and former team physician for the Los Angeles Rams. Dr. ElAttrache helps give insight into what the team doctors for NFL teams will be looking for in this type of player with injury concerns.
Will Carroll is the Lead Writer for Sports Medicine at Bleacher Report.