Former Michigan Athlete of the Week: Denard Robinson

Former Michigan Athlete of the Week: Denard Robinson


March 5, 2019
Denard Robinson (image via Twitter)

Atlanta Legends running back Denard Robinson carried the ball 10 times for 43 yards, including one direct snap, and he caught 1 pass for 4 yards. Those carries included a 9-yard touchdown on an option run. The Legends beat the Arizona Hotshots by a score of 14-11.

HONORABLE MENTION

De’Veon Smith, RB (Orlando Apollos): Smith had 12 carries for 51 yards in a 20-11 win over the Salt Lake Stallions.

Channing Stribling, CB (Memphis Express): Stribling made 1 tackle in a 26-23 win over the San Diego Fleet.

17 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1208
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Mar 05, 2019 at 9:37 AM

    Speaking of “a lacking in explosion”.

    • DonAZ
      Comments: 459
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      DonAZ
      Mar 05, 2019 at 9:34 PM

      You mean Robinson? I always liked him, but I never thought he was all that quick in his first step or two. A good defender — like those in the NFL — could box him in and get him. If he could get past the first defender or two, few would catch him from behind. But Mississippi State showed how it was done in that bowl game.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1208
        Joined: 8/13/2015
        Roanman
        Mar 06, 2019 at 6:57 AM

        He had blazing quickness, but he’s way jowly now.

        I love him to pieces, and because of that I’d really like for him to quit before somebody breaks something on him. Take a coordinator deal at somebody’s Rec department in Florida somewhere and have a long healthy life hanging out with kids and signing autographs.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3220
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Mar 06, 2019 at 7:27 AM

          Aw, man, you guys are being too harsh on good ol’ Shoelace. He’s listed at 212 lbs. Maybe he’s just playing himself back into shape.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5160
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Mar 06, 2019 at 12:33 PM

      Yeah, it’s a pretty stark difference in burst between this highlight and his first TD run as an 18 year old at Michigan.

  2. DonAZ
    Comments: 459
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    DonAZ
    Mar 06, 2019 at 9:53 AM

    A serious question — why didn’t Robinson do better in the NFL? His stats are nothing special, and the fact he’s no longer in the league indicates teams don’t see value.

    Was it because the higher caliber of defenses prevented him from repeating his college-level success? Or because the Jaguars didn’t know how to utilize what he had to offer? Or something else?

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5160
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Mar 06, 2019 at 11:58 AM

      I think it was probably a bunch of things.

      One is that he lost the speed advantage he relied on in college, just by going to the next level. He was a very very good athlete but no so off the charts that he was just going to show up and out run everyone in the NFL.

      That said – the biggest reason IMO is that he was not well prepared to play RB in the NFL. That’ll happen when you don’t play your pro position in college (much). Probably got off on the wrong foot showing up at the combine as a WR instead of RB. I don’t think the NFL knew what to do with him.

      I don’t recall very many major college QBs becoming impact RB or WR. Some guys have had decent careers (Antwaan Randle El) but there isn’t a long list of all-pros.

      Adding weight likely cost him some speed and he didn’t have the experience to offset that with polished skills like blocking, catching, and ‘vision’ in a conventional rushing offense. And again, speed guy, not a tackle-breaker in college.

      Also, the majority of NFL RBs are disposable cogs.

      —————————–

      In hindsight he probably would have been better off staying light & fast, focusing on pass catching skills, and being used in a smaller role as kick-returner and situational RB. In hindsight, he could have made a business decision to move to RB in 2012 and let Gardner be the QB, but tough to have a crystal ball there given the success of 2010 and 2011.

      Disappointing that Carolina didn’t try a few more plays with him as a passer. Still, his NFL career was relatively decent compared to most Michigan RBs and in line with where he was drafted.

      • DonAZ
        Comments: 459
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        DonAZ
        Mar 06, 2019 at 2:52 PM

        Thanks! That was a nice response.

        I don’t follow the NFL at all, so I didn’t see any of his games with Jacksonville (not Carolina, BTW). Still, as you say, four years in the NFL is better than being cut in training camp. Or going undrafted.

        I like your hindsight view. I doubt Michigan would have risked him being a returner, but it would have been good for him to have those skills going into the NFL. He would have had to develop some pretty good route skills to be an effective receiver, given his size. He was fast, but NFL DBs are fast as well, so his speed might not have been all that much an advantage.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1208
          Joined: 8/13/2015
          Roanman
          Mar 06, 2019 at 4:19 PM

          He was a glorious athlete, but his wheels worked better than his hands did.

          I would have thought to try him at corner, I think some people recruited him as a corner, and I’m pretty sure he played some DB in high school, but for some reason it didn’t happen that way.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5160
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Mar 06, 2019 at 8:43 PM

            Yeah, you can play the hindsight game back even farther and wonder if he didn’t fit best at WR or DB. If he entered college that way, who knows…might have been just another guy, might be an NFL alll-pro.

            He’s a 28 year old millionaire still playing a game professionally so I think all things considered the QB to RB track worked out pretty well for him. Chased his dream at QB and had a lot of success with it at Michigan. Probably should have transferred in 2011 if we’re being honest, but glad he didn’t.

            He can always come back to Ann Arbor if he wants free drinks too…

            • Avatar
              Comments: 1208
              Joined: 8/13/2015
              Roanman
              Mar 07, 2019 at 5:26 AM

              He came here because RR promised him QB. He was a dazzling collage QB and as pretty much everyone around here knows, it’s my opinion that he got pretty close to the single greatest screwing over in the history of college football when the two buffoons took over the program and the offense respectively. I firmly believe that his career numbers for total yards and scoring would have stood forever, at least around here, had RR been able to finish with him.

              I’d have never thought to move him when he was here, but at the combine, I’d have asked him how he felt about DB.

              • Avatar
                Comments: 1208
                Joined: 8/13/2015
                Roanman
                Mar 07, 2019 at 5:32 AM

                He was good in college too.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5160
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Mar 07, 2019 at 10:00 AM

                Agree about what coulda been under RR. Defense was a hot mess but the O was so on-track that they were still elite even with Al Borges coaching them.

                I think by the time of the draft it was too late for Denard to be an NFL-caliber DB. Or even WR for that matter.

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1208
                  Joined: 8/13/2015
                  Roanman
                  Mar 07, 2019 at 10:57 AM

                  Plenty of guys with hands have made the switch, New England having the recent notorious examples.

                  Dbs don’t necessarily need great hands, obviously it’s better when they do. Tony Dungy did ok.
                  He was a right place, right time guy, mostly, not a big hitter.

                • Avatar
                  Comments: 1449
                  Joined: 1/19/2016
                  je93
                  Mar 07, 2019 at 9:02 PM

                  The O was never elite under Hoke, and certainly not “on the way there” with RR

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 1449
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Mar 06, 2019 at 11:14 PM

    WR seems like it would have been a good fit, but he doesn’t have good hands, probably not a good route runner either. I was no fan of RR, but a desperate HC with a rep for explosive offense most certainly would have given DRob some snaps at WR/Slot if there was a chance at success there. Instead, DRob spent 2009 on the bench, waiting for Tate to implode

    As for RB, I agree with Lank

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5160
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Mar 07, 2019 at 10:01 AM

      If you can’t catch or run routes you’re not a good WR.

You must belogged in to post a comment.