Heading into the Senior Bowl a few weeks ago, no player faced more pressure than Michigan's Denard Robinson. Converting from quarterback to wide receiver, Robinson had a rough week in Mobile and his athleticism didn't circumvent the wide receiver learning curve.
During a conference call on Wednesday, ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper said "it's not automatic" Robinson will be a wide receiver in the NFL.
"He could be a corner, he could be a running back, could be a slot guy, a return man. There’s a lot of things that you figure, in a couple years, he can be coached up and get some experience at those positions," Kiper said. "It’s not easy to just go from playing quarterback to catching the ball, running routes, getting open, recognizing coverages. Also returning punts, judging fly balls.
"It’s like being a centerfielder. Just because you’re a great shortstop doesn’t mean you’ll be a great centerfielder. Can you judge a fly ball? A lot of infielders can’t judge a fly ball. Can you handle the punt/kickoff return situation? Can you be a corner? We don’t know. Tough kid. Obviously has great recovery ability, speedwise."
The success Robinson has in the NFL may ultimately be tied to the creativeness of his offensive coordinator. Robinson's athletic ability with the ball in his hands is undeniable. Because of that, Kiper notes, Robinson could still be taken in the second round, but the third may be more likely.
"The bottom line is I've seen players who didn't have the potential that Robinson has who went in the second round," Kiper said. "I'd say second or third round for Robinson. I wouldn't say solid, sure-fire second round -- maybe could have happened if he had a good week at the Senior Bowl week at the receiver position -- but I'd say at worst third round right now.
"We'll see. But if I were a team, the third round is where I'd feel very comfortable bringing him into the fold."