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Denard Robinson’s NFL Chances

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 11: Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines pushes off a tackle attempt by Manti Te'o #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the final minute at Notre Dame Stadium on September 11, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Michigan defeated Notre Dame 28-24. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Darrin WashingtonContributor IISeptember 17, 2010

There is a lot of hype around the University of Michigan’s quarterback Denard Robinson right now, and with good reason.  It seems like out of nowhere he has lit the world of college football on fire.  Denard has already accounted for over 800 yards of offense, 400 plus of which are rushing yards.

That’s impressive to say the least. It is clear why right now he may very well be the front runner for the 2011 Reggie Bush award…I mean the Heisman trophy. But how will he fair in the league?

Keeping one eye on the NFL Draft, where would Robinson really fit in?  It is clear that he is talented no matter how you feel that all his stats so far have been compiled against UConn and Notre Dame. 

Robinson’s running and passing ability has drawn many comparisons to Pat White and Michael Vick.

This morning on ESPN’s First Take the idea of Robinson entering the NFL as a running back was explored.  That does not seem likely. 

Yes, Robinson has the speed and running ability but you have to remember that he is running in between the tackles and taking hits from UConn and Notre Dame. Not the New England Patriots and Chicago Bears. 

Do you really think he could take an NFL level pounding for 16 (most likely 18 by the time Robinson enters the league) games?

He’s only 5’11" and 195 pounds.  It is just unlikely that he becomes the next Chris Johnson without any serious experience taking hits as a runner.  You have to remember that Chris played all four years at ECU as a full time running back before you draw that comparison.

It is more likely that Robinson will be closer to an Armanti Edwards type prospect.  He is going to be counted on to return kicks and take screen passes once he gets to the league.  That is where he is going to have the best chance of succeeding using his ability to blow past guys in the open field.

No one knows how it will all play out.  Maybe Denard will end up like Pat White and won’t have a home in the NFL despite his talent.  Maybe he will develop into a legit wide receiver and return man like Julian Edelman and Josh Cribbs. One thing is clear though: we won’t be seeing him throwing passes in the league.

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