It’s not often that you can say an injury will help a college football player’s NFL draft stock, but that might be the case with Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.
Robinson suffered an injury to his throwing elbow that prevents him from passing, so in his final game in Ann Arbor today, Michigan is using him as a running back/slot receiver/wildcat quarterback, and that may give NFL teams a better sense of what he can do in the NFL: Robinson has never been a good enough passer to play quarterback in the NFL, but he is a good enough athlete to play somewhere in the NFL.
The results have been encouraging. As I’m writing this late in the second quarter of Michigan’s home finale against Iowa, Robinson has carried seven times for 72 yards and caught one pass for four yards. Making plays as a running back and slot receiver is what NFL scouts will want to see Robinson do.
Listed at six feet tall and 197 pounds, Robinson is a little small to be an every down running back in the NFL, but I see a lot of Danny Woodhead in him, a player who can play on third downs and take handoffs on draw plays or line up as a slot receiver and create matchup advantages with his speed over the middle. I’d also love to see Robinson return kicks: The NFL player Robinson most reminds me of when he’s running in the open field is Devin Hester.
Where ever Robinson ends up in April, he’ll be a project. But he’ll be a fascinating project to watch.