Denard Robinson: Former QB Shows He's Worth Mid-Round Draft Pick as WR

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2013

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback Denard Rbinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines rushes up field against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Outback Bowl January 1, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  Carolina won 33 - 28. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Denard Robinson spent most of his collegiate career as a quarterback. However, he is starting to prove that he could be a legitimate option as an NFL wide receiver.

After four years at Michigan, Robinson finished with 4,495 rushing yards, the most in NCAA history for a quarterback. He showed off his athleticism nearly every chance he could get as he constantly scored from almost anywhere on the field. 

It is this athleticism, and not his arm accuracy or strength, that will get him to the NFL.

Unfortunately, changing positions is not that easy of a task. While there are some success stories of college quarterbacks who became professional receivers—Hines Ward and Josh Cribbs come to mind—there are plenty more who could not make the transition.

There are a few things that Robinson needs to show teams in order to make them believe that he could succeed in the NFL.

The first issue is pure athleticism. It is one thing to be able to look fast for a quarterback, but it is something completely different to be able to have the attributes comparable for a wide receiver.

At the combine, Robinson passed this first test with flying colors. He ran an impressive 40-yard dash of 4.43 seconds, which ranked seventh among receivers at the combine.

He also ranked in the top 10 in the vertical jump and broad jump among players at his position.

His ability to perform well compared to other players around him rates favorably for a player with as much quality film as he has.

Past the measurables at the combine, Robinson also had to show he can actually play receiver. This mostly includes route-running and pass-catching ability.

In the drills at the combine, the former quarterback was not great in these aspects, but he had shown improvement over the past few weeks.

Yahoo's Doug Farrar was impressed at the changes he has made since the Senior Bowl:

If you watch Robinson, you can see that he catches the ball too much with his body and not enough with his hands. This will get him into trouble during a game if he has to make a play in traffic.

Fortunately, improving in this area is possible as long as he works hard. Based on his improvements, he has shown that he is willing to do that.

Plain and simple, Robinson was a game-changer at Michigan. He led his team in both passing and rushing in each of the last three years and was easily responsible for the most touchdowns over that stretch.

He was also able to produce outstanding touchdown runs of over 60, 70 and even 80 yards at different times throughout his career.

Any team that drafts him will be able to immediately utilize this ability. As long as a coaching staff finds a way to get the ball in his hands, good things will happen.

While Robinson might take a few years to truly reach his potential as a receiver, he has shown plenty of upside. His performance at the combine should be enough to sell teams on his ability.

General managers cannot wait too long to draft him before he is snatched up by another team in the first few rounds. 

All combine results courtesy of