Robert Woods, WR, USC, 6-foot, 200 pounds
PROS: In a word, consistent. His effort, hands, route running, toughness, everything. NFL quarterbacks will love him.
He lacks special qualities about his game and he was a step slow trying to play through a nagging ankle injury in 2012. For someone with limited upside, if he is going to try to play hurt, he cannot afford to lose a step.
DRAFT BRIEFING: The draft community has overcorrected on him. He was overrated this time last year and seemingly became underrated as recently as last month. As more information has funneled out from scouting departments his stock has seemed to have bounced back a bit, but I still don’t think he is drafted before the second part of Day 2. He’s better than that. He would have clearly been the fourth-best wide receiver in last year’s crop in my eyes.
2013 OUTLOOK: If the landing spot is optimal, he has the game to translate quickly. He won’t be the difference between a championship team and not, but, if he gets it together, quickly owners will either have an opportunity to trade premium wide receivers for premium players at other positions or quality depth in case injury strikes. Like him a lot.
DYNASTY OUTLOOK: Depends on his price tag draft day. Guys with solid No. 2 or No. 3 wide receiver upside are a dime a dozen. The difference between contention and being leader of the pack is finding diamonds in the rough. Woods isn’t a diamond; he’s a moderately priced stone. If he slips deep into Round 2 or Round 3 he becomes a target, but he has to fall that far.
Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas, 5-foot-11, 225 pounds
PROS: He is very fast for a man of his size.
CONS: Everything else. While he is a track star in a straight line, his lateral movement is awful. He’s very stiff, almost having to come to a complete stop to change direction. It causes him to try to drive through people instead and has likely led to his laundry list of lower body injuries.
DRAFT BRIEFING: If someone falls in love with his combine and ignores the tape thinking, he could be a lead back, but it will be disastrous for him and the franchise. Not being sure if there will be ‘that guy’ or not, if he falls into Day 3 and is utilized as a 5-7 touch/game back he could be a very scary weapon, though.
2013 OUTLOOK: In-season waiver potential, not a consideration draft day, even as a handcuff. On a week-to-week basis with a role, giving him touches he could be useful. Reliable? Absolutely not.
DYNASTY OUTLOOK: If he is drafted before Day 3, absolute ignore. Someone will pay a Round 2 or earlier pick for him and the reward just isn’t worth the massive amount of risk he carries. Probably not looking at him if he does fall to Day 3 anyway, but I’ll keep him in the back of my mind at least.
Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford, 5-foot-9, 215 pounds
PROS: Decisive, powerful, downhill runner that has shown passing game skills as well.
CONS: He’s slow. I didn’t expect him to time well at the NFL Combine, but his speed was admittedly alarmingly slow. Slower running backs can get away with a 40 in the 4.6-4.7 range, but any lower and they’re creeping scarily closer to JAG (just a guy) level.
DRAFT BRIEFING: His weak combine will likely make him a Day 3 draft pick. He has his Pro Day to show that speed display, or lack thereof, was just a bad day at the office. He has the game tape to bounce back to Day 2 consideration, but he must demonstrate more athletic ability.
2013 OUTLOOK: He falls into the Vick Ballard category for me. He’s not an impressive athlete, but as a running back he is multidimensional and will translate quickly. If he goes to the right spot like Ballard did, he will be on my in-season watch list.
DYNASTY OUTLOOK: I will probably like him more come drat day than my competition. He has the game tape to be a quality RB2 with a full slate of touches, but will an NFL team give him the opportunity? While your competition is sniping out size/speed upside players I recommend keeping a closer eye on Taylor. He’s not sexy, but he will get the job done … if given an opportunity.