Denard Robinson was expected to be one of the top signal-callers in the game entering 2012. As the season progressed he began to struggle, and eventually an injury forced Devin Gardner to take action at quarterback for the Wolverines.
After a few strong performances from Gardner, it became apparent that he was the best answer at quarterback, but where does that leave Robinson?
According to former NFL GM Gil Brandt, he would suggest a move to cornerback. That’s borderline crazy talk.
Brandt had this to say to the Associated Press when asked about Robinson’s future in the NFL:
I'd draft him to be a cornerback. A quarterback never wants to be told he's going to have to play another position, but I don't think he can play quarterback in the NFL. I do know teams are always looking for cornerbacks, and I think Robinson could do it because of his quickness and speed. But he'd have to want to do it to make it work.
Brandt is the former general manager and draft consultant for the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.
There isn’t a question that Robinson has the athleticism and skill set to make it in the NFL at virtually any skill position, but offense is the place he needs to be.
Robinson will not be an NFL quarterback—that became apparent against the NFL-like defense of Alabama in Dallas to start the year—but receiver or running back could be an option.
In two games as a running back this year, Robinson had 23 carries for 220 yards and a touchdown.
He has rushed for 4,395 yards in his career with 42 touchdowns scored on the ground. He is a playmaker and his future looks bright, but playing at corner is just silly.
The last time I checked, Robinson is not a head-hunter on special teams and doesn’t make a lot of tackles. In fact, there isn’t a single tackle he has made that comes to mind.
Unless there has been some mystery instruction going on behind the scenes, cornerback is simply out of the question. To make that switch he would have to learn techniques that take years to instill in the best players in the game.
To expect him to step in and perform at an NFL level is laughable.
Robinson will end up on an NFL roster in the next few months, but it will be as an offensive skill player. As much as Brandt would like to point to Robinson’s “quickness and speed” as the primary reason for the move, I would point to the fact that he has never made a tackle or played man coverage in a game—likely not even in practice.
When New Year’s Day comes and Robinson takes the field in Tampa, he will be a dynamic threat to the South Carolina defense, but there is no way he finds his way to the opposite side of the field.
There is simply too much to learn with too little time to learn it.