We all know what Denard Robinson was able to do while he was at the University of Michigan. Over his four seasons in Ann Arbor, Robinson was one of the most dynamic play makers in the history of college football at the quarterback position. His only flaw was that his passing left a ton to be desired.
Denard won’t be playing quarterback in the NFL, but his raw athleticism and play making ability has NFL scouts drooling over his potential.
Devin Gardner took the reigns at quarterback this season when Robinson went down with an elbow injury. Gardner showed much more promise as a passer that he kept the job, but when Denard came back from injury, Brady Hoke and Al Borges had to find a way to get him on the field. He played running back and wide receiver in some formations and showcased what his future would be in the NFL.
Following the season, Robinson received an invite to the Senior Bowl as a wide receiver and struggled a bit. New to the position, he had a hard time running routes and his elbow injury still seemed to hobble him, dropping many passes. The coaches also put him back returning punts and kickoffs and he was still very much raw there as well.
These things are to be expected from a guy who is used to playing quarterback. Just because you are a natural athlete doesn’t necessarily mean switching positions will come easy.
Over the weekend, Denard Robinson had the chance to showcase his physical attributes at the NFL combine. He ran an unofficial 40-yard dash time of 4.34 seconds and showed an improvement in his hands during wide receiver drills.
While he has improved since the Senior Bowl, Robinson needs to improve his catching ability in order to fit in the NFL. As we saw in college, he took a lot of big hits and his durability is a question, so he will not make it in this league as a running back.
Called by Lions GM Martin Mayhew a “Swiss Army knife,” Robinson definitely possesses the pure athleticism that could make him a successful player in the NFL. He is the kind of guy that defenses would have to account for when he steps on the field. Robinson is still a very raw prospect, but I think that he is worth the risk as a 3rd or 4th round pick.
Time will only tell. We still have two months until the Draft. His stock could change a lot from now until then.