I found it interesting this week that Tony Pauline suggested former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson was likely to be a day two pick:
Continue to hear a buzz being built around receiver Denard Robinson, especially after his performance today. Though he just participated in drills (WR/RS/RB) scouts were impressed with his consistency and the fact he dropped no passes. Looks like Robinson has secured a spot for himself in the draft’s second day.
He looked awkward at the Senior Bowl working as a receiver and taking returns. There was talk of a potential switch to cornerback instead. Robinson looked like a great athlete without a home.
And while there was all this talk of position changes I couldn’t help but wonder why nobody was considering him as a running back? After all, he’s 5-10 and 199lbs. He ran a 4.43 at the combine. In comparison, Chris Johnson came in at 5-11 and 186lbs at the combine in 2008. Robinson basically played as a glorified running back in college, throwing occasionally bust mostly excelling in the read option breaking off big gains.
4495. That’s how many yards he ran for in his time at Michigan at 6.2 yards a pop. He scored 42 rushing touchdowns too. Take away his rusty first season and he averaged well over eight yards per carry with +1200 yards a season.
He wouldn’t be the first quarterback from the Big 10 to switch to the backfield — Michael Robinson made a similar move. Yet this latest Robinson has the kind of speed and vision to act as a playmaker rather than a full back. It’d be a completely unconventional second or third round pick, but imagine this guy in the backfield, especially on read option plays? When you actually think about it, he could be one of the most dynamic prospective running backs in the class.
Forget asking him to try and cover elite receivers at corner or learn a full route tree — hand him the ball. Get him involved in screens and bubble’s. Put him in a position to make impact plays for chunk yardage. At Michigan he was a prospective Heisman candidate and explosive playmaker. The only thing that let him down really was the passing side of the game. Well, at running back you’re pretty much taking away that negative.
Part of me thinks this would be such a Seahawky move. It’d be labelled a titanic bust at the time and raise a few titters from the media. And a year later it could be considered a master-stroke. Draft the guy in round two or three, put him in there to spell Lynch and let him hit a few home runs. You could argue that’s why they traded for Percy Harvin, but I don’t expect he’ll be taking too many snaps in the backfield. How do you gameplan against an offense that has Wilson, Lynch and Robinson in the backfield, Harvin in the slot and Rice split out wide? Robinson could act as the third running back initially, taking over the snaps given up by Leon Washington. He could spell Harvin with some returns. But eventually you’re looking at him potentially becoming a dynamic option in the backfield.
In 2010 Carolina drafted Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards in round three (after trading away the rights to their 2011 second rounder). They believed he had the skill and playmaking quality to transform into a receiver at the next level. It’s never really worked out, but if a team is willing to draft Edwards in that range — someone is going to give Denard Robinson a shot too. Whether it’s Seattle or not.
As the last week has shown, the Seahawks love to keep you guessing. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he was a day two or three selection. Neither would it surprise me if he ended up becoming a truly dynamic change of pace back at the next level.
So what do you think?