Denard Robinson has been one of the most intriguing NFL prospects this offseason. He is one of the few quarterback prospects in the history of the NFL that has been completely and 100% willing to change positions in order to somehow make it to the NFL.
From what it sounded like, he did well during his press conference and during his interview after his day at the Combine had been completed. Unfortunately for Denard, his 40-yard-dash time wasn’t great, and he didn’t seem too thrilled with his vertical jump. When he was told his unofficial 4.34 forty had been changed to an official 4.43, he said that he wasn’t happy and that he is supposed to be faster than that. His Pro Day has now become very important. His vertical jump was pretty solid, he posted a 36.5 inch vertical and his broad jump was a solid 10’3″. His three cone drill time was not very good, clocking in at 7.09 but posted a pretty solid 20 yard shuttle of a 4.22; Denard didn’t bench press because of his elbow.
For comparison sake, the best in each category so far has been a 4.27 40, 43″ vertical, 11’4″ broad jump, 6.53 three cone drill and a 3.96 20 yard shuttle. What do all of these numbers mean? In the grand scheme they’re just numbers, and probably carry more weight than the should, but they can be a very good indicator of where a player excels. T.J. Moe, a wide receiver from Missouri, had the fastest three cone drill and 20 yard shuttle time but the slowest 40-yard-dash among wide receivers. This just proves that Moe is very quick off the line of scrimmage and the first 20 yards, but he’s not going to be very good at going after deep balls, which is fine as a slot receiver.
Denard showed that he is athletic and that he has a lot of potential, but he needs to run a better 40-yard-dash time, three cone drill, and shuttle at his Pro Day. He has to also show that he can field kicks and punts, since he didn’t have a chance to do so at the Combine. I will say this, if he doesn’t run better, it won’t be the end of the world, because he’s shown on plenty of game film that he is more athletic than most, but it would help him greatly if he could break a 4.4 forty.
Denard playing corner has trouble written all over it. Forgetting about the fact that he has never played defense in his life and he would have to learn the playbook, he can’t tackle. Dee Milliner truck sticked him when Denard tried to tackle him after throwing a pick during the Alabama game. Now just imagine what would happen if he tried to tackle Steven Jackson if he had to run-support. Not to mention he probably can’t cover receivers very well. Just a guess though. He’s athletic enough yes, but he doesn’t know the position whatsoever. I still firmly believe he will end up at runningback and get 10-15 carries per game.
Now when it came to running routes and catching the football, he did a very good job. He only had three drops, and was very fluid running his route. He also performed well during the gauntlet drill, and caught every pass except for one, which is more than I can say for a lot of wide receivers.
Michael Irvin made a good point that he needs to make sure that he doesn’t let his hands get too far apart when he goes to catch the ball because it will be easier for DBs to defend. With only his elbow at 60% health and the possibility of surgery looming, Denard had a very good day. I think that best case scenario Denard will go late 2nd round or in the 3rd round, something I have thought all along. Worst case scenario he will go in the 5th-6th round, and that is ONLY if he decides to have surgery before the NFL Draft.
You can check out Denard’s NFL Combine page here, and there are videos of his interviews and some of his drills there as well. Everything keeps getting removed from YouTube for some reason.
I’ll say this right now, if you think that Denard Robinson won’t get drafted or shouldn’t get drafted then you need to pull your bias out of it and use this thing called logic. Because if you truly believe that, then you clearly know nothing about football and the fact that you cannot teach someone to be fast and athletic. He caught the ball better at the Combine than Cordarrelle Patterson, who is supposedly one of the top receivers in the Draft this year.
Michigan’s Pro Day is set for March 14th.
By the way, here’s a great article from CBS Sports that is a must-read.
UPDATE: A cool Sports Science video from ESPN: