After an impressive showing at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, Denard Robinson will be an attractive wide receiving prospect in the middle of the draft for receiver-needy teams.
The former Michigan quarterback lit up the track in Indianapolis with an unofficial 40-yard dash time of 4.34 seconds, tying Markus Wheaton for the fourth-fastest mark of any wide receiver. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller had this to say on Twitter:
Matt Miller @nfldraftscout
Denard Robinson with a 4.34. Imagine what he'd run with his shoes tied?2/24/2013, 4:38:40 PM
We didn't need him to run the 40 to know he was fast, but his performance only accentuates the fact.
A starting quarterback for Michigan for two-plus years, Robinson took a back seat to Devin Gardner after Week 8 of the 2012 season. From that point on, he attempted to reinvent himself as a receiver/running back—a role he'll need to own in the NFL.
Robinson's ability to make plays in the open field has never been in question.
In four years at Michigan, he rushed for 4,495 yards 42 touchdowns on 723 carries and caught three passes for 31 yards. He is an explosive athlete in space, and he has elite speed and quickness to go along with excellent vision.
The biggest question regarding Robinson's ability to transition to the NFL is whether or not he has the hands to make it as a receiver. At 5'10" and 199 pounds, he simply isn't big enough to make a huge impact as a running back.
His performance as a receiver at the Senior Bowl was less than inspiring. He struggled with his routes, struggled to catch the ball consistently and looked out of his element.
This wasn't alarming, though, because everybody understands he is just beginning to learn how to play the receiver position.
Robinson's pure athleticism, speed and after-the-catch abilities make him an intriguing player as a mid-round prospect. Judging by what we saw from him in the gauntlet drill at the combine, he has been working tirelessly to improve his hands.
The team with enough guts to take a risk and draft Robinson in the third or fourth round will be getting a heck of a player, and if Robinson continues improving as a receiver, he could become one of the steals of this year's draft.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78