Michigan Football: Could Denard Robinson Be the NFL's Next Mike Vick?
A strong case can be made for the fact that Michigan's senior signal caller, Denard Robinson, is the most dynamic duel-threat quarterback college football has seen since Mike Vick played at Virginia Tech over a decade ago. In fact, Robinson's college numbers are arguably better than Vick's were in two seasons with the Hokies.
More than the numbers, Robinson and Vick have similar builds—something that has resulted in durability concerns for both quarterbacks.
As Robinson enters his senior season, he has to be considered as an early candidate for the Heisman, Maxwell and O'Brien trophies. Shoelace finished sixth in the Heisman voting in 2010 and was an early season contender last year.
Still, there are substantial questions about Robinson's options at the next level, and those concerns are not without merit. He's far from a polished passer, and durability will be an even bigger question mark at the pro level. Most people would say that Robinson's best option at the next level is to play special teams returning kicks and punts.
However, let's not forget that Vick was taken with the first overall pick by the Falcons in 2001, and he was drafted as a quarterback. The tendency will be to balk at any attempt to compare Robinson to Vick, but let me try to make the case of why some team might be willing to take a chance on Robinson as a quarterback in the NFL.
Let's start with the physical stature comparison.
In college, Vick played at 6'0", 200 pounds. Robinson is currently listed at 6'0", 197 pounds.
Vick opted out of participating in the field test drills at the 2001 combine, but he was reported to have clocked a 4.36 40-yard dash time in the Falcon's rookie mini camp following the draft.
Both quarterbacks have similar builds, and they are both equally as explosive when it comes to speed.
The production of the two quarterbacks is also similar; Robinson's numbers are higher, because he's played in 16 more games than Vick did. However, Robinson's 26 starts at quarterback are only five more than Vick's 21.
In two seasons as a starter at Virginia Tech, Vick amassed 3,299 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing 56.1 percent (192/342) of his passes. He also racked up 1,202 yards and 16 touchdowns on 212 carries. In 21 career starts, Vick led the Hokies to a 20-1 record, and he finished third (1999) and sixth (2000) in the Heisman voting.
Robinson has been Michigan's starter for two seasons after splitting time with Tate Forcier his freshman year. He's passed for 4,931 yards, 40 touchdowns and 30 interceptions while completing 58.3 percent (338/580) of his passes. He's also rushed for 3,229 yards and 35 touchdowns on 546 carries. As previously mentioned, Robinson finished sixth in the Heisman voting in 2010.
Vick's college 151.0 passer rating is slightly better than Robinson's 142.1. However, Robinson's completion percentage is slightly higher than Vick's with a much larger sample size. Robinson's 5.9 yards per carry average is also slightly higher than Vick's 5.6.
To compare total offensive production, Robinson has accounted for 8,160 yards and 75 total touchdowns in 38 games at Michigan (26 as a starter). Vick's career totals at Virginia Tech stand at 4,501 yards and 37 touchdowns in 22 career games (21 starts). Though Robinson has thrown 19 more interceptions than Vick, he's also thrown for 19 more touchdowns.
While Robinson has a lot to work on as a passer, let's not be so short-minded to forget that Vick was just as unfinished when he entered the NFL a decade ago.
What do you think? Can Robinson (eventually) play quarterback at the next level? Who was the better college quarterback?
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