INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson's relative inability to show much as a receiver or return man during the Senior Bowl week in January had some wondering where he might fit in the NFL. Some pro teams have talked to him about possibly moving to cornerback, but during Sunday's receiver drills, Robinson showed that he's put in a great deal of work in the last month.
From our scouting report then:
Robinson will occasionally flash the kind of in-cut speed that could make him dangerous on any level, like when he caught a ball in the end zone off a jump on Thursday. His pure speed will allow him to outrun a lot of his mistakes -- on Tuesday, he slipped on the field at Ladd-Peebles stadium and still was able to burn past the cornerback covering him. But he's dropped a lot of balls this week, and once a defender locks him up, Robinson doesn't yet understand how to use his hands to separate. And that's a problem at the NFL level -- it doesn't matter how much pure speed you have, because there's someone just as fast who can cover you, and you will get shadowed into oblivion if you don't have at least some positional concepts together.
Now, it's a different story. On the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, Robinson's efforts really paid off. While not perfect in all aspects, Robinson was able to show a better grasp of the little things that make receivers good at the pro level. His cuts in routes were much more concise, his overall route concepts were far smoother, and he was able to adjust to a couple of overthrown passes. It was a relative triumph for a guy that looked like anything but a real pass-catcher just a month ago.
He did so despite the fact that he's still dealing with a lingering hand injury that has him at about "60 percent," as he said on Saturday.
"I'm continuing to get better. I just got some X-rays yesterday and some examination. I'll continue to get better, and I've got to come back in April to get a second check-up."
He looked good enough to make NFL teams take a second look at a player working hard -- and quickly to make a tough transition.
"My vision is to try to be the best that I can possibly be when I get to the NFL," he said. "Whatever teams put me at, that's what I'm going to work my tail off to be. Whatever they ask me to do that's what I'm going to do."
Of course, the speed wasn't an issue. Robinson ran an unofficial 4.34 40-yard dash (4.43 officially), but we all knew he'd time well. The real spark of encouragement for Robinson -- and those who see him as a possible Randall Cobb-style multi-position player -- was how well he has come along at his new position. Not bad after he looked like a hot mess in Mobile.
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