Denard Robinson has undoubtedly heard what many draft analysts have to say about his ability to develop into an NFL quarterback. He's currently too busy attempting to help his Michigan Wolverines win football games to be concerned with the critics, but he will be given the opportunity to prove them wrong.
Robinson is hardly the first quarterback to hear he doesn't have the tools to make it in the NFL.
Michael Vick is the obvious connection. The first overall pick in the 2001 draft was doubted by some due to a lack of size and concerns with his throwing mechanics.
Tim Tebow and Russell Wilson also offer lessons relative to quarterbacks. While neither are established at this point, there were critics that stated they wouldn't be able to make the transition from great college QB to starting NFL quarterback.
Wilson is relying on his arm to succeed in the NFL. Many scouts passed him over as being too small to be a successful quarterback in the NFL, but his intelligence, work ethic and throwing motion earned him the starting role with the Seattle Seahawks.
The concerns with Robinson are a bit different. While Wilson was a pocket passer, "Shoelace" contributes almost as much to the Wolverine rushing attack as he does through the air.
Mel Kiper, draft analyst for ESPN, shared his concerns with Michael Rothstein of WolverineNation.
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At the end of the day, you don't know where Robinson is going to fit in. I say wide receiver because it has happened a number of times in the past to allow you to think that could happen. He may also be a defensive back. One of those two spots, otherwise he's not going to play in the NFL.
If he can't play wide receiver, slot receiver and return man and if he can't play in the secondary then all he is is a wildcat quarterback, which doesn't bring a lot of value.
It is only fair to point out that Kiper's projections on players not being able to transition to the NFL seem to be wrong almost as often as not. He didn't believe Wilson could make it in the NFL, and stated the third round was "too high" and that his height would "push him way down the board."
Robinson is a quarterback that could be seen as a mid-round draft project. There will be an NFL team that needs a backup quarterback and sees the potential to hone his passing skills.
Michael Vick relied on his legs and athletic ability when he was young. It wasn't until he had his second chance in the NFL that a team sat him on the bench on game day and spent time working on him as a passer. The Philadelphia Eagles were able to find the quarterback in Vick.
A mid-round draft pick won't be expected to start early in his career. A savvy team will allow him to learn their offense, likely as a No. 3 quarterback.
Where will Robinson end up playing in the NFL?
Robinson may be given some snaps as a rookie, at quarterback and possibly slot receiver.
He would open an offense to wildcat looks and trick plays from the receiver position. With a 40-yard dash time projected in the 4.3-4.39 range a coach will find ways to get his playmaking ability on the field.
Most important, while contributing as a third quarterback and a fifth receiver, Robinson will finally have the time to learn what it takes to be a passer. An NFL quarterback coach will be able to work with him on his mechanics and teach him to make better reads and decisions.
As a proficient passer, Robinson will be a dual-threat quarterback that can keep NFL defenses honest merely by the threat of running the ball.
For now, though, he's focused on the task at hand which is extending his record vs. Notre Dame to 3-0.
CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) September 21, 2012