Robert Woods   WR   USC

TALENT BOARD ROUND  2

 

STRENGTHS

Robert has the "gifts of the gods" athletic talent, size, speed and skills to be an impact wide receiver for the team that drafts him.  He has excellent speed to catch the deep ball and great quickness to gain separation when he runs all the underneath routes.  Robert has the ability to catch the ball and turn it into a special play every time.  He can return punts and kick-offs and flip the field faster than your grandma can run with a cheetah tied to her back.  He is smooth; he glides when he runs and is the only receiver I have seen that has the talent equal to Randy Moss when he came out in the draft. Of this draft class, Robert might be the best route runner out of all the receivers.  He looks on film to be a good teammate, to give solid effort on every play and do a nice job blocking.  Robert can be a special player, but he still has some work to do. 

 

CONCERNS

Robert has to work on his mental toughness, his hand strength and how to fight more for the ball when it is in the air.  He runs great routes, but if he is not open at the end of those routes, he struggles to finish his routes and get open.  For a player with so much talent in such a big program with a potential NFL quarterback throwing to him and with so much production, he struggles with the instincts and "street smarts" to play his position.  I do wonder about his football intelligence because at times he seems lost out on the field.  He drops too many balls right now to be considered a #1 receiver, but hard work can overcome that.  Robert knows what he knows, but the minute a play breaks down, he struggles to understand what is expected of him and how to get open.  Sometimes so much natural talent is a curse more than it is a gift because it is not realized by the person who has those gifts.    

 

BOTTOM LINE

Robert has the natural gifts to be one of the best wide receivers to play this game, but he must "want" to be that player and right now I don't see that "want" in his play on the field.  I see an excellent wide receiver who has Randy Moss talent but might wind up impacting like Robert Meacham instead.  I'm not talking about his effort on game day.  I'm not talking about how much he practices.  I'm talking about how much he works to improve on his negatives and identifying that he has negatives.  I think Robert has peaked and what you see might be what you get and none of this has to do with work ethic or lack of character on or off the field.  I believe the great players practice on their weaknesses more than they practice on their strengths.  I believe they practice their strengths with the team and then practice their weakness in private.  I'm not sure Robert has ever done the latter because I have not seen improvement in his game from year to year.  You cannot throw to Robert if he is not open. You cannot trust that he will go after the ball in the air and take it away from his opponent.  Robert's natural talent is a gift and a curse because, with all of that natural talent we expect more from him.  We expect him to catch the ball in any situation.  Receivers drop balls all the time, but that is not the reason a quarterback will stop throwing to them at impact times in a game.  The reason a quarterback stops throwing to a receiver is trust -- trust that the receiver will do everything he can to catch that ball when it is thrown to him.  Robert doesn't get that or he would have improved and would be considered as the first pick in this draft.  He must improve his instincts and mental toughness.  He needs to run his routes with more authority and not get muscled off his routes.  He must demand more from himself; when he does that, the drops will be less meaningful. After this kid works out, look for him to move up in this draft on just about everyone's boards. He has top ten impacting talent and sometimes you just have to draft talent like this and hope it comes to the top. For me personally, if I interview him and don't get the feeling that he has the fire in the belly to match that natural talent, I draft him early in the second round, if he falls that far but I suspect he won't.  For me, interviews would be the key and if he satisfies me in those interviews, I could see him being selected in the 1st round or even by some teams in the top ten of this draft.  I don't have the luxury of those interviews so for me, film work is my way and from that film work I have to rate him as a second round talent.  That's a big difference and now you can see how players can move up and down in the draft.  It could all depend on a simple interview just like a job in the real world.  You can have all the talent and awards and experience in your field, but if you don't prove that some of that is true in a simple interview, you will not be hired because there is always someone else who has the talent and awards and experience that you have.  

 

Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart

Feb/2013