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Denard Robinson will become an NFL draft conundrum

San Diego State v Michigan Getty Images

If you’ve been casually watching college football this Saturday afternoon, that maize and blue blur that’s been flashing across your screen was Denard Robinson, the ridiculously fast quarterback at Michigan.

We don’t write a lot about college football around here, leaving that to our friends at CFT, but as I watched Robinson in the first half of Michigan’s game against San Diego State, I became fascinated by the thought of what kind of prospect Robinson is going to be in the NFL draft, which he’ll be eligible to enter in 2012 but will probably not enter until 2013.

For starters, let’s make clear that Robinson is simply not an NFL quarterback. As of the moment I’m writing this, in the third quarter, Robinson has completed seven of 13 passes for 84 yards and two interceptions against San Diego State. That’s pretty much par for the course for Robinson: He’s not even close to a pro passer.

But Robinson is as gifted a runner as college football has ever seen at the quarterback position. At the moment, he has 19 carries for 167 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, and that’s pretty much par for the course, too: He’s stunning with the ball in his hands, and last year he led the Big Ten with 1,702 yards rushing.

And that raises some interesting questions: What kind of pro will Robinson be? Will he get drafted? What round? What position?

Robinson is such an incredible runner that you’d think there have to be some NFL coaches who would be interested in trying to convert him into a running back. But Robinson, who’s listed at 6-foot-1 and 193 pounds, looks like he’d be about the skinniest running back in the NFL. It’s tough to see him withstanding the pounding of running between the tackles in the NFL.

His speed would make him tempting as a receiver, although we don’t know what kind of hands he has, or what kind of route runner he would become. Could Robinson return punts? Maybe. When I see Robinson in the open field, the NFL player he reminds me of most is Devin Hester.

Whenever he’s ready to turn pro, Robinson will likely light it up at the scouting combine and have some NFL personnel people fall in love with him. And then they’ll have to decide what position he can play in the NFL.

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46 Responses to “Denard Robinson will become an NFL draft conundrum”
  1. radtrigger says: Sep 24, 2011 2:22 PM

    Raiders will draft him with their 1st round choice.

  2. kd75 says: Sep 24, 2011 2:25 PM

    A smart coach will get something out of Denard. He’s got freakish athletic ability.

  3. h3min1230 says: Sep 24, 2011 2:25 PM

    percy harvin-like

  4. johnnycash19 says: Sep 24, 2011 2:26 PM

    Is this even a question? Oakland. The guy is a great playmaker, but he has regressed as a passer in the pro-style offense. Not big enough to be a RB and we don’t know about his hands/route running. I’d say a good comparison would be Armanti Edwards.

  5. turbodean says: Sep 24, 2011 2:28 PM

    Sproules.

  6. We'reFineThere says: Sep 24, 2011 2:32 PM

    Does he tie his shoes yet? I can’t believe the coaches let him do that.

  7. docredskin says: Sep 24, 2011 2:35 PM

    He’s Eric Crouch and his pro career will have the same arch.

  8. phoivy says: Sep 24, 2011 2:58 PM

    He could be a way better version of Brad Smith.

  9. chobes68 says: Sep 24, 2011 3:12 PM

    I don’t see why he can’t play running back. It would be a far easier transition than playing WR, and Chris Johnson, not saying he’ll be that good, is the same weight as Robinson, although Denard is two inches taller, per NFL.com

  10. hanktheking says: Sep 24, 2011 3:16 PM

    Pat White 2.0

  11. rcali says: Sep 24, 2011 3:17 PM

    U mean Pat White?

  12. mmmpieyummy says: Sep 24, 2011 3:21 PM

    The Raiders have enough wanna-be quarterbacks who can run and not throw…Terrelle Pryor anyone?

    They don’t need another one.

  13. talkintrashallday says: Sep 24, 2011 3:24 PM

    Josh Cribbs 2.0

  14. buckeye044 says: Sep 24, 2011 3:27 PM

    I wouldn’t draft him unless he proved that he could tie his shoes.

  15. possiblecabbage says: Sep 24, 2011 3:27 PM

    He’ll probably end up as a day 2 luxury pick for a team that will call him “a weapon” but be unsure when, how, or if he will play. Sort of like Dexter McCluster or Pat White.

  16. humboldt420 says: Sep 24, 2011 3:37 PM

    Agree with possiblecabbage, Denard Robinson is going to go as a luxury pick as a “weapon”.

    Don’t know why, but, I see Robinson getting drafted by the Patriots. New England always has a bevy of draft picks, and I could see the Pats trying to turn Robinson into a weapon like Welker or Woodhead.

  17. salvaje50 says: Sep 24, 2011 4:03 PM

    @possiblecabbage

    Both McCluster and White were 2nd round picks…that’s not a day 2 luxury pick

  18. Deb says: Sep 24, 2011 4:15 PM

    Robinson’s passing technique can often be described as “throw it up and pray.” Since he doesn’t have QB prospects, it might have been better for him to play WR and spend his college years learning to run routes. Or … maybe someone could start teaching actual passing technique to these spread QBs.

  19. possiblecabbage says: Sep 24, 2011 4:25 PM

    “Both McCluster and White were 2nd round picks…that’s not a day 2 luxury pick”

    Rounds 2 and 3 take place on the second day of the draft. If you are chosen in the second or third round, you are a day 2 pick (until the draft format changes again.) Both White and McCluster were definitely Luxury Picks. White was drafted to “complete the Wildcat” whereas McCluster had to switch positions after his rookie year (from WR to RB.)

  20. triumphdog says: Sep 24, 2011 4:25 PM

    As a Michigan fan that has watched every snap of Denard Robinson’s career, I would say calling him “Pat White” based on his passing abilities would be a complement. With that being said, he is five times the runner that Pat White is or was. He will play in the NFL as a Dexter McCluster type of role. Take care fellas.

  21. staffordsyear says: Sep 24, 2011 5:00 PM

    D- rob for heisman!

  22. staffordsyear says: Sep 24, 2011 5:02 PM

    Oh and that Eric crouch comparison is laughable.

  23. richie215 says: Sep 24, 2011 5:12 PM

    The problem w/ Pat White was that he demanded to play QB, and wasn’t open to playing anything else.

  24. rashardmendenballs says: Sep 24, 2011 5:15 PM

    As a Michigan fan i love to watch Robinson play even though he cannot through the ball. He won’t be a QB in the NFL thats for sure, he will end up being a utility guy like Dexter Mccluster or a Brad Smith. Robinson actual measurables are 5’11 and 180ibs and he should clock in around 4.3-4.4 range for the 4o yard dash; so he will need to put on another 15 ibs to withstand the brutal punishment he will receive in the NFL.

    He will need some coaching at the WR, RB positions and he will need add some strength and IBS. But he does have intangibles that you cannot teach…speed and instincts with the ball.

  25. duanethomas says: Sep 24, 2011 5:17 PM

    Late round wr/pr/kr/wildcat qb. Also this should be in College football talk.

  26. plundergrunge says: Sep 24, 2011 5:30 PM

    @johnnycash19 hit the nail on the head with the Armanti Edwards comparison.

    Well done. :)

  27. tednancy says: Sep 24, 2011 6:13 PM

    He will be a receiver/PR/KR or he will be nothing. Even if the wildcat isn’t completely dead by 2013 (and it’s getting there), Denard is so bad as a passer that he would not be a credible threat.

    He is a great college player who will get eaten alive in the NFL. Imagine what will happen to him and his idiot gimmick untied shoes when he is a rookie! They’ll destroy him!

    “Shoelace?” What a complete loser!

    I can’t wait. Yes, I am a huge Denard hater.

  28. gordon322 says: Sep 24, 2011 6:24 PM

    I hope there comes a day when someone in the nfl would try something out of the box and run an offense to suit a player like denard robinson. But that would suggest the nfl is an innovative league which its not.

  29. snaponrules says: Sep 24, 2011 6:40 PM

    If Josh Mc Dimmwitt has a choice it will be in the first round. He loves qb’s who can run the ball, but can’t throw or read defences.

  30. Soulman45 says: Sep 24, 2011 6:50 PM

    He is a football player some coach will find a place for him to be good.

  31. qdog112 says: Sep 24, 2011 6:52 PM

    To be fair, Robinson may not be NFL QB material, but his line today is not typical. Why not point out his week against “America’s team” when he threw them to victory. I seem to recall another guy who was a “runner” who would not make it in the league. All he’s done is throw for over 400 in his first two games.

  32. barneysbullet says: Sep 24, 2011 7:01 PM

    @duanethomas

    Why cant this be talked about here? I’d say it pertains to the NFL (via the draft)

  33. richm2256 says: Sep 24, 2011 7:04 PM

    It’s a shame the NFL forces quarterbacks to throw.

    (sarcasm)

    You’ve got a guy who can run like the wind, but he’s too small to play running back, not smart enough to run routes and be a receiver, and he can’t be an NFL QB because he can’t pass.

    Sounds to me like we’ve got a safety on our hands.

  34. Fan On Fire_Maurice Barksdale says: Sep 24, 2011 7:22 PM

    Atwaan Randle El is the player Robinson reminds me of. Randel El was a QB in college at Indiana, and converted to a WR and kick returner in the NFL.

    Randle El also threw a few touchdown passes on trick plays as well, and Robinson would be effective at that too.

  35. gbfanforever says: Sep 24, 2011 7:44 PM

    He looks great in non-conference games but when big ten play starts he ends up being neutralized by more talented defenses. He should be a 6-7th round flier guy as a return specialist or utility back/slot receiver but some team will be blinded by his speed and take him in the the third round instead of picking the sort of player that has more nfl upside and value. You don’t spend high picks on a guy who will only be on the field 12 plays a game. Also, I saw his highlights today and I swear I could have scored on a couple of those. No guy came within 10 yds on one!

  36. imjinbrdgr says: Sep 24, 2011 7:50 PM

    “rashardmendenballs says: Sep 24, 2011 5:15 PM

    As a Michigan fan i love to watch Robinson play even though he cannot through the ball. ”
    ==================================

    Obviously a Michigan fan and not a Michigan alum.

  37. imasturbate says: Sep 24, 2011 8:13 PM

    He is fast and elusive…he will play on Sunday…not quarterback but he is to talented not to play.

  38. pftfan says: Sep 24, 2011 8:18 PM

    The Brad Smith comparable is spot-on. He’ll be perfect as a 3rd/4th WR and Wildcat direct snap threat to run/pass.

    Definitely worth a draft pick for any team that doesn’t have too many holes to fill. Can definitely see the Jets giving him a look if Jeremy Kerley doesn’t fill the gap in their Wildcat that Brad Smith left. Can also see the Pats and Dolphins entertaining him also. His speed alone should earn him a mid-late round selection.

  39. jebdamone says: Sep 24, 2011 9:34 PM

    this kid could absolutely be an nfl RB. he’s only 195lbs? well he’s 6’1 and he also just turned 21 years old! i would imagine he will very easily put on another 15-25 pounds and still maintain his speed and quickness by the time he is 23-24 years old. he is a very natural runner. he sees the field well and follows his blockers very well…and he has knockout speed quickness and cuts. i just spent the last 20 minutes watching his highlights and he does some remarkable things.

  40. nelspetersen says: Sep 24, 2011 10:19 PM

    Def cannot THROUGH the ball lol

  41. bdawk2020 says: Sep 24, 2011 10:22 PM

    I think the answer is rather simple. A Wildcat QB is what he is suited for. With the growing standard of having such a package on the team, guys like Denard can finally find a spot on a team without having to be tried out at millions of positions and failing to do any of them at the end of the day. They’ll find one that he does the least bad(probably Wide Receiver), and they’ll list him there. His actual duties will be special packages and returns. If you wanna use him, let him do what he does, get in the open field and make things happen. Don’t try to make him something he isn’t.

    There is the verrrrrrrrrrrry off chance he actually tries to become a QB and that’ll require him to take Michigan’s new pro style(when they want it to be lol) offense a lot more seriously and work on well, everything. His noodle arm won’t change probably but he can work on everything else. Maybe he can find some mechanics that will increase arm strength too? Who knows but I do know he has underthrown every deep ball I’ve seen him launch.

    What round should he go in? Who knows, it really depends on a lot of things that won’t get decided until 2012/13. If I was him though and I was not planning on becoming a better QB, I’d leave now because he has nothing left to work on.

  42. docredskin says: Sep 24, 2011 10:30 PM

    staffordsyear says:
    Sep 24, 2011 5:02 PM
    Oh and that Eric crouch comparison is laughable.

    ———————————–

    Heisman level QB? Runner first? Will have to switch positions to play pro ball?

    You’re pretty easy to make laugh.

  43. johnnycash19 says: Sep 24, 2011 10:41 PM

    plundergrunge says: Sep 24, 2011 5:30 PM

    @johnnycash19 hit the nail on the head with the Armanti Edwards comparison.

    Well done. :)
    —————

    To be honest I didn’t even mean it like that lol. Because I am a Michigan fan, I just thought that Armanti Edwards was a pretty good spread QB and right now he’s a WR for Carolina. I didn’t even mean it like Michigan vs Appy State lol.

  44. asublimeday says: Sep 25, 2011 3:03 AM

    Saying a player looks like Hester in the open field is like saying a guy running with a basketball looks like MJ.

  45. Deb says: Sep 25, 2011 8:08 AM

    Soulman45 says:

    He is a football player some coach will find a place for him to be good.
    ————————————————-

    Tell that to Tebow.

  46. rg3no1overallpick says: Oct 9, 2011 2:28 PM

    Armanti Edwards comparisons are fairly accurate, but I think he will have a bigger impact than that.

    If he could throw, he could be a Mike Vick type player. I would like to see him work on it and get better and maybe with the ascension of Cam Newton at quarterback, players who can extend plays with their feet may become more in demand.

    Eric Crouch? Really?

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