Mel Kiper Jr.: Denard Robinson won't fall past 3rd round, but might not be a WR
Robinson's Senior Bowl was a disaster, and Kiper says his pro position remains uncertain. But the catch?
While scouts have said Robinson fell to a sixth- or seventh-round prospect after Senior Bowl week, Kiper said his raw potential will prevent him from falling out of the first three rounds.
"The bottom line is I've seen players who didn't have the potential that Robinson has who went in the second round," Kiper said Wednesday during a conference call with reporters. "I'd say second or third round for Robinson. I wouldn't say solid, sure-fire second round -- maybe could have happened if he had a good week at the Senior Bowl week at the receiver position -- but I'd say at worst third round right now.
"We'll see. But if I were a team, the third round is where I'd feel very comfortable bringing him into the fold."
Robinson looked raw at receiver during the Senior Bowl week. His routes were poor and he wasn't very good in the air. He also dropped a few balls, although he continues to battle numbness in his right hand, which could have played into that.
But Robinson said he believes receiver is his most natural non-quarterback position, and plans to stick with it despite his struggles.
"I just gotta do me, keep getting better," he told MLive.com at the Senior Bowl. "Some scouts are saying (to me) they actually like some of the things I've done. Some are saying they like me a little more.
"All I need is one team to love me, and I’ll be all right."
While Kiper remains optimistic Robinson will be selected early in the draft, he said the former Michigan star might have to be open to making another position change if his receiver skills don't develop.
“You’re trying to figure out where he’s going to play -- it’s not automatic he’s a receiver," Kiper said. "He could be a corner, he could be a running back, could be a slot guy, a return man. There’s a lot of things that you figure, in a couple years, he can be coached up and get some experience at those positions.
Kiper said Robinson should get some benefit of the doubt because receiver is a difficult position to play, and it takes time to assimilate.
"It's not easy to just go from playing quarterback to all of the sudden catching the ball, running routes, getting open, recognizing coverages, taking hits when you catch the ball -- then also returning punts," he said. "It's like center fielder. Just because you're a great shortstop, it doesn't mean you're a great center fielder. Can you judge a fly ball? Some great infielders can't judge a fly ball."
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