NFL Draft: Bills select Robert Woods in 2nd round (41st pick)
With the No. 41 overall pick in the second round, the Buffalo Bills selected wide receiver Robert Woods out of Southern California. Regarded as a fearless receiver across the middle and as a punishing blocker, Woods could help a Bills' offense that averaged less than 205 passing yards per game in 2012.
Despite being overshadowed by teammate Marqise Lee in 2012, Woods still had a productive season with 76 catches for 846 yards and 11 touchdowns. Regarded as a crisp route-runner like Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks, Woods (6-1, 201) can easily gain separation on defensive backs even without world-class speed. Experienced in the return game, as well, Woods averaged more than 24.5 yards per kickoff return in his three seasons at USC.
If Woods was eligible to enter the NFL Draft after his sophomore season, he may have been a Top 10 selection. Woods opened the 2011 season with a school-record 17 receptions for 177 yards in a 19-17 win over Minnesota and never looked back. Woods had all three of his touchdowns in the first half, opening with a 7-yard touchdown off a pivot route for a 6-0 lead, before adding a leaping 43-yard touchdown catch early in the second quarter and a short 2-yard reception in the right corner of the end zone near halftime. He also exhibited explosive yard after the catch ability with a spin move down the right sideline to produce several extra yards. For the season, Woods finished with 111 receptions, 1,292 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Woods distinguished himself with his steady hands and ability to remain balanced on tough catches throughout the 2011 season. In wins against Notre Dame and Oregon, Woods made nearly identical diving catches in the right corner of the end zone on fade routes. Woods’ best game of his career may have come in a 48-41 win over Arizona when he caught 14 receptions for 255 yards and two touchdowns, including several in traffic against double teams. Woods also materialized into a punishing blocker, as exhibited on Curtis McNeal’s 61-yard touchdown run against Stanford when he took two Cardinal defensive backs out of the play along the left sideline.
On the next level, Woods’ willingness to go over the middle could help him fit in with the Bills' offense from the outset of his NFL career. As Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com points out, Woods combines “deceiving strength to come down with contested grabs, with the toughness and fearless attitude to fight for every yard.”
Woods will serve as a complementary receiver for Steve Johnson in the Bills' revamped offense. The Bills finished 25th in the NFL in 2012 in passing yards per game.
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