Denard Robinson won't be a quarterback in the NFL, but he's too dynamic to keep out of the league. The Michigan star is off the board, selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars to play running back and to bring some dynamism to the return game.
Shoelace was always too good to stay off the field. As a freshman, Michigan's starter was supposed to be Tate Forcier. But Robinson broke out early and broke out often, scoring a 43-yard touchdown after fumbling the first snap he ever took. He'd win the job full-time as a sophomore, having his best season as a passer, completing 62.5 percent of his throws for 2,570 yards with 18 touchdowns against 11 picks. But what was most impressive was his unreal ball-carrying skill. When he took off, he was near impossible to bring down and even harder to catch up to. He had 1,702 yards on 6.6 yards per carry, more than all Michigan's running backs combined. He was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and earned All-American honors -- oddly enough, the FWAA spotted him at running back.
His numbers saw a decline over his final two seasons, but the team would be more successful. After some disappointing seasons under Rich Rodriguez, the Wolverines went 11-2 with a BCS bowl win in their first season under Brady Hoke with Robinson lighting it up with a three-passing touchdown, two-rushing touchdown win in The Game against Ohio State.
Robinson's senior year proved a time of transition towards his NFL career. When he was able to throw, he wasn't great at it, tossing nine touchdowns against nine picks. Then an injury in his throwing elbow essentially ended his career at quarterback. He'd line up behind Devin Gardner as a running back down the stretch, able to use his athleticism even if he couldn't throw. He also began running routes, making three catches in the team's final three games.
It will be interesting to see how the Jacksonville Jaguars choose to use Robinson. He has all the physical tools to make him a flashy player at pretty much any spot on the field. He's unrealistically fast, can stop on a dime and shift directions and has a variety of moves he can use to make guys miss. You want to get the ball in his hands as much as possible, but how?
He won't be a quarterback. Robinson just doesn't have the arm, the accuracy, the size, or the decision-making to do it at the NFL level. He has the style to be a running back, and worked in that role a little bit at Michigan, but he might not have the bulk and body type to do it full-time. However, it appears the Jaguars are willing to try, officially announcing him as a running back and having him work on special teams.
Robinson can be used to spell Maurice Jones-Drew and will provide a dangerous backfield passing threat for Blaine Gabbert. With the ability to be something like Darren Sproles, he can thrive in the new-look Jaguars' passing game.