And with coach Mike McCarthy saying he wanted to get Randall Cobb off of special teams, the Packers also have a need for a kick returner.
The Packers could kill two birds with one stone by drafting USC's Robert Woods. Woods, a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver in 2011 and an early entrant after 2012, had a formal interview with the Packers at the Scouting Combine, according to a source.
Woods had a monster sophomore year, when he hauled in a school- and conference-record 111 passes for 1,292 (11.6 average) yards and 15 touchdowns. As a junior, Marqise Lee took over at the Trojans' big-play target, but Woods managed 76 receptions for 846 yards (11.1 average) and 11 touchdowns.
Woods isn't big (6-0 3/8) and he isn't fast (his 4.51 at the Scouting Combine ranked 18th out of 35 receivers who tested). What he is is quick off the ball, sure-handed and productive.
"My quickness to get in and out of my breaks at the top of my routes," Woods said when asked how he compensates for lack of elite measurable. "My high school coach always told me, ‘One, two,' which is, ‘At the top of your routes, get out in two steps.' In high school, it seemed impossible. We were taking like three or four steps. But in my head, I still think, ‘One, two,' and that allowed me to get out of my breaks a lot quicker. My hands, I would say, are a strength, looking the ball in. And my third strength, I guess, is my track background, with the speed and the quickness into my breaks. That allows me to stop on a dime, and I think that helps me, as well."
Woods, a high school All-American, became the Trojans' first true freshman receiver to start a season-opening game since World War II. He said he's a quick study and can help a team in some capacity immediately, even at a position in which rookies regularly don't provide dramatic production. "I just want to be a big impact to a team, whether it's short passes, deep passes, or just even a few catches every now and then for a first down," Woods said. "Whatever role a team wants me to play, I'll enjoy playing and make the best out of whatever opportunity I do get."
Woods provides extra value on special teams. In 2012, he averaged just 3.8 yards on punt returns and did not handle kickoffs. In 2011, however, he averaged 9.1 yards on punt returns and 23.1 on kickoffs. In 2010, he returned just one punt but averaged 25.6 yards and scored a touchdown on kickoffs.
"I would say Reggie Wayne," Woods said when asked to compare himself to a receiver in the league. "He's smaller, one type of receiver. He's not like a Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald, but he's making plays all around the field, and I can see myself similar to him."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.