USC's Robert Woods rising up NFL draft boards
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USC wide receiver Robert Woods isn't sure where he'll wind up in this year's NFL draft. But he's certain of this much: Whichever team does wind up with him will be getting one of the biggest difference makers out there.
"I feel like I can do it all at the receiver position," said Woods, the 6-foot, 200-pound receiver. "I have the ability to play inside or outside, and I feel like whatever schemes and matchup a team has, I can create a mismatch against the outside guy, or against a nickel safety, corner or linebacker."
Could the Jets be a fit?
New general manager John Idzik won't offer any hints about his plans, although Idzik now has two first-round picks after trading cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Bucs in exchange for the 13th overall choice. The Jets already own the ninth pick.
That may be too high for Woods, but he's still on their radar. The Jets were one of more than 10 teams Woods visited before the draft.
"It's been a crazy time with all the visits," Woods said. "You can't really prepare for it. You just have to be ready to go to whatever team calls you. There are really a lot of ins and outs as far as the process goes."
While Tavon Austin of West Virginia and Cordarelle Patterson of Tennessee are generating the most buzz at the receiver position, Woods appears to be gaining momentum in advance of the draft and could even surpass Patterson. Does he make it into the first round, which is likely to be dominated by offensive and defensive linemen? Too soon to know, but Woods will no doubt be in play at some point in the early going.
As far as he's concerned, he's ready.
And that's been the case since early in his run at USC. In fact, he put together one of his best efforts as a freshman against Stanford when he had 12 catches for 224 yards and three touchdowns in a wild 37-35 loss to the Cardinal and head coach Jim Harbaugh, who has since gone on to coach the 49ers. The player defending him that day: Richard Sherman, who is now one of the NFL's elite cornerbacks with the Seahawks.
"Having a good game against [Sherman] does put a little confidence in you," Woods said. "He's in a different system now than he was at Stanford, but it was good to have success against him. That was one of those games that everything went right."
Woods had a terrific 2011 season with 111 catches for 1,292 yards and 15 touchdowns. His numbers fell last year (65 catches for 792 yards and six touchdowns), due in part to lingering soreness from an off-season ankle injury and a down year from the Trojans' offense, which was hampered by quarterback Matt Barkley's shoulder injury and general inconsistency before he got hurt.
But Woods is healthy again and ready to translate his unique talents to the next level.
"I feel good about what I have to offer," he said.
His best attributes?
"I would say my route running, my hands, and my consistency," he said.
Sounds like he's ready. Now it's a matter of where he ends up next.