Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What will make or break Michigan's Denard Robinson in the NFL Draft

Denard Robinson wasn't exactly outspoken when he played quarterback for Michigan. The one thing he did say that raised eyebrows was claiming he could beat Usain Bolt in the 40-yard dash.

Robinson: 40 time will either open or close NFL eyes
Robinson has run the 100 meters in 10.3. He ran the 60-meter dash in 6.81. Both times border on world-class speed. But it will be his 40-yard dash time that will make or break Robinson's draft status. If he goes under 4.4, he could be drafted in the early rounds. If he runs in the low .4.4s, he will probably be drafted in the later rounds. If he is pushing 4.5 or goes above it, Robinson will likely be an undrafted free agent.
He does have potential as a slot receiver. The evaluation of Robinson at the Senior Bowl was incomplete. He is still bothered by an arm injury. It was a strange play-call that had him running a reverse to his right when he is only able carry the ball in his left arm. He does have quickness and evade in the open field. His hands? That's all about work. Doubt that will be a problem.
If Robinson is going to make it in the NFL, it is likely going to be out of the slot. The idea is to catch the ball in stride and take off in that spot. It's doubtful he will be an outside guy, despite his speed, because of his small size. He could return kicks, but it was if the injury precluded that from happening at the Senior Bowl.
A very comparable player in this draft to Robinson is Texas wide receiver Marquies Goodwin. An NCAA long jump champion and U.S. Olympian (he didn't medal in London), Goodwin has a similar speed-size equation as Robinson. Because of splitting his focus between track and football, Goodwin's football experience was limited to a degree at Texas (he was a starter and productive, but is still relatively raw).
Goodwin got a much longer look at the Senior Bowl than Robinson. It was a mixed bag (he did show speed and hands on short patterns in the seams in the game, but also tried to catch a punt on the 1-yard line).


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