After the Senior Bowl and his performance at the wide receiver position, Denard Robinson is still a mystery at the next level. The former Michigan Wolverine flashed and showed some potential, but ultimately did little to prove that he can be a wide receiver in the NFL.
As Matt Miller of Bleacher Report said:
Matt Miller @nfldraftscout
Wanted to see development of Denard Robinson this week. Walking away unimpressed. Stock is dropping.1/24/2013, 5:06:33 PM
The real question is not so much "where" Robinson is going to play. Rather, it's how much patience an NFL team—and Robinson himself—have with what looks to be a very difficult process.
Playing in the NFL is hard, and that's for guys who have spent their entire life training to play just one position. The transition both physically and mentally is a tremendous step. The game is faster, the players are stronger and they are professionals in every sense of the word. It is their job to be better than their opponent, and they take that quite seriously.
Coaches expect more out of players at the next level. They are not there to teach you how to play football; they are paid to harness the skills players have and maximize production. In the league, they coach little things. They tweak. All of the major work is supposed to be done, and the coaches are there to put the finishing touches on a top-shelf athlete.
Denard Robinson is certainly a top-shelf athlete. Odds are, he will prove that at the combine in February. However, the speedy quarterback-turned-wide-receiver is a guy with more than just "little tweaks" to be made to his game. This is not a guy who needs some paint—he's a full-blown renovation project.
So, for Robinson, it all boils down to finding a coach and general manager willing to give him the time to grow. That means don't expect the project player to end up somewhere that has a coach and/or general manager on the proverbial hot seat. For those rooting for Robinson to succeed, the best bet will be a place with stability and a track record of being patient.
Next up for Denard is the combine, where he will try to show that he's progressed in his route-running and catching abilities. He's a wide receiver now, and posting good numbers in the 40, the cone drills and the shuttles will go a long way toward making coaches get comfortable taking on the risk.
Where is Robinson going to play? He'll be a wide receiver for a GM and a coach who fall in love with his potential. The beauty of the NFL is that it only takes one guy to like you for a player to get a shot at their dream. Thanks to the raw skills Robinson brings to the table, someone is going to pick him.
The transition won't be an easy one. If Armanti Edwards has taught us anything, it is that changing competition levels and positions is no small task. The odds are stacked against Denard Robinson, but we'll see if he can make the leap.