After the off-season trade of Percy Harvin, many NFL observers expect the Minnesota Vikings to find a replacement at receiver with a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. The presence of free agent addition Greg Jennings, however, caused our friends at Daily Norseman to wait to fill that particular need until the second round.
|52. Minnesota Vikings||Robert Woods, USC||WR||6'0"||200||JR|
Christopher Gates: "Well, we were set to continue our defensive run with this pick, but with the Giants swooping in to grab Manti Te'o a couple of picks earlier, we shift our focus to the offensive side of the ball. More specifically, we look at the Minnesota Vikings' most glaring deficiency on that side of the ball, that being the wide receiver position.
"With the receivers that are currently off the board, we feel that Robert Woods, the junior out of Southern California, is the best player available at the position. After putting together a ridiculous sophomore season for the Trojans that saw him catch 111 passes for nearly 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns, his numbers dropped a little bit in 2012. He still had 11 scoring catches, but only wound up with 846 yards receiving on 76 grabs. It's not because his talent dropped appreciably or anything like that... the Trojans just happened to discover the guy that might be the most ridiculously talented wideout in college football in Marqise Lee, and he cut into Woods' numbers considerably.
"While Woods has decent top-end speed, he's not really considered a huge downfield threat. He does, however, run very good routes and has displayed soft hands thus far. He rarely lets the ball get into his body, and you can't really argue with his productivity.
"There's a very good chance that Woods would be an immediate starter for Minnesota, and give the Vikings' passing game another target to help in Christian Ponder's development going forward."
Here's our own Dan Kadar to break down the pick:
Although the Vikings signed Greg Jennings to a big-money contract, it’s not out of the question for them to take a wide receiver early. Jennings played in just eight regular season games in 2012 and has been injured the past two seasons. His average yards per receptions has dropped each of the past two years as well. Jennings can still be a good wide receiver, but he’s not an upper-echelon player.
Pairing him with a savvy route runner like Woods would be a smart move. Woods compares favorably to Jennings in that he’s a precise route runner with deceptive speed. Having such good route runners will allow the Vikings to figure out if Christian Ponder has the kind of ball placement required to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. Woods rates as our fifth-best wide receiver in the draft this year and it get him midway through the second round is a good value.
|39||Jamie Collins||LB||Southern Miss||6'3"||250|
|40||Gavin Escobar *||TE||San Diego State||6'6"||254|
|51||Justin Hunter *||WR||Tennessee||6'4"||196|
|1||23||Minnesota Vikings||Bjoern Werner||DE||Florida State|
|1||25||Minnesota Vikings||Johnathan Hankins||DT||Ohio State|
|2||52||Minnesota Vikings||Robert Woods||WR||USC|