It almost seems like it’s one of those “little known facts” or trivia answers about the NFL… Who was the team that drafted wide receiver Roberts Woods? The Buffalo Bills.
That could be for two reasons: Woods, a product of USC, has spent most of his college and pro football career in southern California. The exception is the couple of years he spent in Buffalo. The other might be because Woods didn’t see his NFL career take off until he joined the Rams.
Undoubtedly, his underachieving in Buffalo isn’t on him. Woods, a second-round pick of the Bills in 2013, played in a run-first offense with the Bills. The Rams sport one of the best young, offensive-minded head coaches in the league now in Sean McVay. Woods taking off statistically went hand-in-hand with his hiring.
This upcoming weekend, Woods will make his first trip back to Orchard Park since playing for the Bills. It’s a chance to show his former team they should’ve dished out the dough to keep him.
But that’s not the way Woods is thinking at all ahead of the Rams’ visit to Bills Stadium, he’s just looking forward to reminiscing where it all started for him.
“It feels good to go back to where I started my NFL career,” Woods said via the LA Times.
More so, Woods even recalls the time he spent playing in front of the Buffalo faithful as a big positive when he looks back. Due to Covid-19, fans won’t be there and he’s bummed about that.
“Love the fans — I wish the fans could be there. Just going back to that atmosphere, feeling like it’s another home place for me,” Woods added.
Aside from the fans, Woods mentioned that really everything in western New York was a… culture shock even, one that he welcomed. Not only was his college and current team in So. Cal, he grew up there, too. In lieu of leaving for college, Woods instead was drafted to a place for four years in Buffalo.
“I grew to love Buffalo,” he said. “I never really got a chance to experience really like another city, especially another weather climate like that. So going to Buffalo, being in the snow, seeing the football culture there, I loved it. Real true loyal fans, fun place to play. If you’re not wearing Bills gear in the city, they’re looking at you funny.”
In Woods’ first season with the Rams back in 2017, he dealt with injury. The past two he hasn’t and in both of those, the 28-year-old has seen 130-plus targets in back-to-back seasons. With Buffalo, he averaged 86.
What’s made Woods a profitable player in the NFL is his all-around game. Not biggest guy, not the fastest one, either. He just gets the job done and cashed in on that recently with a four-year, $65 million extension.
Prior to that new contract the receiver signed, Rams quarterback Jared Goff explained Woods’ skill set in training camp.
“It’s easy to throw to him,” Goff said via the Rams’ website. “And a lot of guys, it’s not a knock on some guys, but some guys are not easy to throw to. They’re either too fast or too small, or whatever. Robert’s just got that good feel about him. You’ll watch him this year and the way he’s able to speed up and slow down to adjust to the football, it’s a quarterback’s dream. He’s been incredible for me, and I can expect that to continue.”
Perhaps part of the reason Woods will miss fans being there is because they would have been one of the few welcoming faces he’d recognize. Since he departure, the Bills have gone through and overhaul from top-to-bottom. Of the players remaining that Woods played with, there’s defensive end Jerry Hughes and tight end Lee Smith, who he himself left only to return.
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