The slot receiver is fast becoming a high-impact position in the NFL. See teams with guys who often line up in the slot, like the New England Patriots (Wes Welker), Indianapolis Colts (Austin Collie) and Minnesota Vikings (Percy Harvin), for examples.
Other receivers who have lined up in the slot slightly less often, like Steve Smith, Santana Moss and DeSean Jackson, have also had plenty of success at the position.
Don't be surprised, then, if many teams use the upcoming draft to add a player similar to those listed above to use in the slot in their schemes.
One player who should receive plenty of attention is former Southern Methodist University stud receiver Aldrick Robinson.
At only 5'10", 185 lbs., Robinson probably lacks the size to excel at the prototypical wideout position, but his combination of blazing speed (4.35) and soft hands makes him a good candidate to succeed in the slot.
Offered a scholarship to the University of Kansas, Robinson chose instead to stay closer to his hometown of Waxahachie, Texas and enrolled at SMU. Four years later, he left college with 3,314 career receiving yards and 30 touchdowns, including a school-record 14 in 2010.
During an interview I recently conducted with Robinson, he talked about his accomplishments thus far as well as his goals for the future.
Current SMU coach June Jones (former coach at the University of Hawaii) called you the fastest receiver he's ever coached. That's some pretty high praise, isn't it?
"Yes. That means a lot. Coach Jones has coached a lot of great, really fast receivers."
Waxahachie is just outside of Dallas. Is it safe to assume, then, that you're a Cowboys fan?
"No, I'm actually a Steelers fan. A lot of my friends are Cowboys fans, but I've always liked Pittsburgh."
Who was your favorite player growing up? Who would you compare yourself to?
"My favorite player growing up was Terrell Owens, but he's a lot bigger and more physical than me. I'm more of a Steve Smith type guy."
SMU uses the "run and shoot" offensive scheme. Do you think that might hurt your transition to the NFL?
"I don't think so. The run and shoot allowed me to really learn how to read defenses. A lot of our routes depended on what the defense showed us, where the DBs lined up. You had to read the play and change your route sometimes, and I think that gives me an advantage."
The draft is only a couple of weeks away. What kinds of things are you working on to improve your stock as much as possible?
"I just need to work on my overall receiving skills. I’ve got the speed, and I’ve got good hands, so I’ve just been working on what the scouts have been telling me to do that will help me get out in space and make plays."
You did some returning in college. Do you think you'll be able to do more of that in the pros?
"I didn't return any punts, but I returned a few kickoffs. I think I could definitely do a lot more of that in the NFL."
I've seen you projected to go as high as the third or fourth round. How much do you think about that kind of thing in the weeks leading up to the draft?
"I don’t think it really matters where I get drafted. I just want to get my foot in the door and earn my way onto a team."
For teams looking to add a game-changing wide receiver who can line up at multiple locations, but specifically in the slot, Aldrick Robinson could be a steal late in the draft.
Thanks to Synergy Sports International for the opportunity to interview Aldrick Robinson