Kiffin, Barkley, Woods and Impact on Packers

Matt Barkley's criticism of USC coach Lane Kiffin could impact the Packers' direction in this week's draft. How so? We take what we know and connect a few dots in a juicy first-round story line involving ace receiver Robert Woods.

The momentum is building for USC receiver Robert Woods, thanks to a late push from quarterback Matt Barkley.

And that might have a major impact on the Green Bay Packers.

In an interview with Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports that was published on Monday, Barkley ripped Trojans coach Lane Kiffin. Among the problems Barkley had with Kiffin's coaching was how Woods – the 2011 All-American receiver – was used in 2012 as he fell behind fellow receiver Marqise Lee in the game-planning pecking order.

"Kiff kind of suited the play-calling toward Marqise," Barkley says. "It was rough at times, because defenses kinda knew what was coming. It was sort of predictive. Robert Woods is a great player. … You want to be respectful of your coaches, because they are your elders, but when it falls on your shoulders, you probably should get involved."

Before Barkley sounded off, Woods (6-foot, 190 pounds, 4.43 in the 40) was considered a borderline first-round pick while in the jumbled mix of Quinton Patton, DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen and Justin Hunter in the race to be the third receiver off the board behind Cordarrelle Patterson and Tavon Austin. Now, according to a scout, Woods might have moved ahead of the others as the scouts have additional context to explain why Woods fell from 111 catches in 2011 to 76 in 2012.

"It's going to be close – really close" for the Packers to get him at No. 26, a source said.

Here's why this is of interest to the Packers: The Packers are a pass-first team that will be led by the highest-paid player in NFL history in quarterback Aaron Rodgers. With Greg Jennings' departure to Minnesota, the Packers are left with Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb as the only proven receivers and only Nelson, Jones, Cobb and up-and-down tight end Jermichael Finley as targets with any sort of resume.

So, while receiver has been neglected by many national pundits and even local beat writers, receiver is a prime need for the Packers entering this draft. And it was the Packers who were among the most interested observers when Woods – a player with a Jennings-like skill-set -- was putting on a pass-catching and route-running clinic at USC's pro day, according to a source at the school.

"I would not be embarrassed about doing it because, honestly, I have Woods as my second-rated wide receiver," NFL Scouting's Dave-Te' Thomas, the league's longtime lead scout, said of taking Woods in the first round.

On Monday, Packer Report learned the Packers had at least exploratory talks with one team about moving out of the first round to acquire extra picks. Historically, general manager Ted Thompson will trade down when he sees value. With the jumble of receivers who figure to go off the board between the end of the first round and the start of the second, it certainly wouldn't be farfetched for Thompson to be gauging how far he could move back and still get Woods.

With Barkley's criticism of Kiffin, the odds of Woods getting out of the first round have decreased. And that might mean if the Packers want him, they're going to have to hope he falls to No. 26.

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