Jacksonville Jaguars

How Denard Robinson's Versatility Will Help Jacksonville Jaguars Immediately

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback Denard Rbinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines rushes up field against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Outback Bowl January 1, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  Carolina won 33 - 28. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIApril 28, 2013

The Jacksonville Jaguars have taken a chance on Denard Robinson, and his athleticism and work ethic will give him the opportunity to make an immediate impact for this team.

Robinson was taken by the Jaguars with pick No. 135 in the fifth round.  While he is by no means a pure wide receiver, his talent makes him worth the risk.  According to an interview by Jaguars.com, Gus Bradley seems quite excited to have Robinson on this team, saying:

(Any concerns with Robinson’s ability to hold onto the ball at the Combine?) “He’s not our finished product by any means. He’s played quarterback his whole life so he’s going to be a work in progress. I don’t expect him to go out there in year one and just have everything down. He’s going to have his drops, he may have his fumbles, and that stuff but it’s going to be a little bit of a work in progress. We feel like if we can develop him then he can turn into something special.”

(Wildcat?) “That’s a possibility. We want to get the ball into his hands.”

“I always had a mindset that he’d be a third rounder. Even in my time in Atlanta I felt like that would probably be good value for him. I never thought he would be there in the fifth round to be honest with you.”

There are plenty of wide receivers on the Jaguars, including Cecil Shorts, Justin Blackmon and now Ace Sanders.  However, there isn’t much eye-popping talent at the position.  Blackmon has only had a year in the NFL, but he was quite a disappointment at the beginning of the year. 

This means that Robinson has a chance to become one of the top receivers for the Jaguars quite quickly.  His incredible speed and ability to change direction make him an elusive player in the open field.  He will still need to prove that he can become a solid route runner as well as prove that he can consistently catch difficult passes.

There is also a real possibility that Robinson could see some snaps as a running back.  Maurice Jones-Drew has been a workhorse for the past few seasons for the Jaguars, and he is now showing signs that he is beginning to break down.  He played in only six games last season, missing time due to a foot injury.  Behind Jones-Drew is Justin Forsett, who hasn’t truly proven himself as a running back at this point in his career.

For Robinson, he was an impressive runner at Michigan, finishing with 4,495 yards and 42 touchdowns in his college career.  He has good balance to stay upright after contact, pushing for extra yards.

In fact, Bleacher Report's NFL Draft Lead Writer Matt Miller thinks Robinson's best fit with the Jags might be at running back, as he mentions near the end of this video clip:

Even the quarterback position needs some depth.  It appears the Jaguars are sticking with Blaine Gabbert for at least this season, but his durability has already been questioned after missing seven games in his first two years in the NFL.

In the event Gabbert gets hurt again, the Jaguars could consider putting Robinson in at quarterback.  He has a strong arm and actually did a solid job hitting receivers on fade routes.  He is accurate on shorter passes and can hit guys on hook routes and shorter slants.

Of course, consistency is a big question for Robinson as a QB.  He made some questionable throws at Michigan, with several ending in turnovers.  His ability to escape in college was nice, but defenders may be able to contain him more effectively in the pros.

Overall, there’s plenty to like about Robinson.  He may be a project, but he’s shown that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to be successful in the NFL, even if that means playing wide receiver or running back.  With how much talent he brings to the table, he’s sure to find ways to get on the field and make big plays for the Jaguars in 2013.

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