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Road to the Draft: Denard Robinson

By Jay Skurski

Denard Robinson

Position: Wide receiver
School: Michigan
Measurables: 5-foot-10, 199 pounds
40 time: 4.43 seconds. Vertical: 36.5 inches. Broad jump: 12 feet, 3 inches. 3-cone drill: 7.09 seconds. 20-yard shuttle: 4.02 seconds.
2012 stats: 89 for 167, 1,319 passing yards, 9 TDs, 9 INTs; 177 carries, 1,266 rushing yards, 7 TDs; 3 receptions, 31 yards.
Draft projection: Fourth-fifth round

Lowdown: Robinson was a dual-threat quarterback with the Wolverines, but will transition to wide receiver/running back in the NFL. A good comparison is to former Pittsburgh Steeler Antwaan Randle El. Robinson produced big numbers for Michigan, winning the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2010 after he became the first player in NCAA history to throw for more than 2,500 yards (2,570), and rush for more than 1,500 (1,702) in a season. His numbers dipped in 2011, to 1,176 rushing and 2,173 passing, but he accounted for 36 touchdowns and helped the Wolverines go 11-2 and win the Sugar Bowl. In 2012, Robinson played less quarterback for Michigan. He carried 177 times for 1,266 yards, an average of 7.2 per carry.

Robinson, who finished third in the 100 meters in 2008 at the state high school meet in Florida, has elite speed, playing even faster than his 4.43 40 time would suggest. He can change direction and accelerate as well as any player in the class. As a passer, he’s got a strong arm and decent touch. Robinson will present a challenge for defenses given his ability to run the Wildcat and zone read offensive schemes.

NFL teams will have to determine which position Robinson best fits. He can drive coaches crazy with his ball security (eight fumbles in 2011). Doesn’t have the size to be more than just a situational passer in the NFL. Has suffered from several nagging injuries, and will have to prove he can withstand hits from NFL defenders.

Nickname is ‘Shoelaces’ because he plays with his shoes untied. 

The Buffalo News is profiling 50 prospects in 50 days leading up to this month's NFL Draft.


2013 draft | Denard Robinson | Road to the Draft
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |