Denard Robinson: How Will Jacksonville's Newest WR/RB Fare in the Pros?

Ryan RiddleCorrespondent IApril 27, 2013

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 17: Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines looks for running room during a first quarter run while playing the Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Coming out of the University of Michigan, Denard Robinson set the nation on fire with big play after big play from the quarterback position. However, his projected value in the NFL will be at an offensive skill position like wide receiver.

Robinson has a high character and is uncommonly selfless for a guy of his superstar status. He was very willing to switch positions throughout his senior year and play wherever the team needed him.

Coming mainly from the quarterback position, he ran for an astounding 42 touchdowns throughout his college career.  


Pro Outlook

Speed, vision and elusiveness are going to be keys in Robinson’s pro game. He’s obviously raw and inexperienced at the receiver position, but we’ve seen several talented college QBs make this transition into the NFL. Of those QBs who turned into receivers, Denard might be the most talented and dynamic of them all. He runs in the low 4.4s and has the quickness to make guys miss.

It should be interesting to watch his career play out. If he can learn how to run routes and find open windows in coverage, there aren’t many limitations to the kind of impact he can have in this league.

If the plan is to use him at running back, he may be able to do some of the things we've seen from Chris Johnson of Tennessee

Robinson should be a lock to make the 53-man roster and has the reputation as a hard worker.


Roster Outlook

Jacksonville clearly has a need for playmakers on its roster, and I think Robinson provides the Jaguars with some very interesting options on offense. If they have interest in installing a read-option package to change things up from time to time, they definitely just added the perfect weapon to do it.

It’s unclear if he will be able to assume the role of a return man, but if those necessary ball skills do shake out, his potential for big plays in the kicking game will be tremendous. There are a lot of immediate impact opportunities for Robinson in his first year if the offensive coordinator and special teams coach are creative enough to use him.

As far as being a pure wideout, it’s reasonable to expect limited reps in that area with some sprinklings of special target plays that take advantage of his abilities in the open field. This would likely occur in short passing plays, like bubble screens and look routes.

If running back becomes his primary role, he should provide good value as a change-of-pace back and pose a constant threat to throw it down the field. If Robinson is in at RB, corners had better stay locked on their man until he crosses the line of scrimmage. 


Pick Analysis

At pick No. 135, the Jaguars were fortunate to land an intriguing, dynamic player like Robinson. His ability and upside is as good as almost any receiver in this draft. Being able to acquire that kind of potential this late means tremendous value for Jacksonville. 

One issue with the pick worth noting is Jacksonville's extreme lack of a pass rush. Though most thought the best rush guys had all been taken, there was still one guy on the board who shows a ton of promise—Quanterus Smith from Western Kentucky.

All things considered, Robinson is definitely the most exciting pick you could hope for in Round 5, and he should give the Jags a boost with his big-play ability.

Grade: A-