Denard as an NFL prospect

Submitted by cypress on January 4th, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Denard is probably one of the most unique NFL prospects to come along in a while. Breathtaking speed, ridiculous feet...but if you are an NFL franchise, how high do you value him, and where do you see his future? It will be interesting to see his career as it unfolds, right now it appears to be an open book at the next level.

If you type his name and NFL draft into google, you will see him listed as a prospect for WR, RB and CB. To me, he doesnt really look like a WR, although he carried the ball and took a pounding in college, he doesnt seem like an NFL RB either. My opinion is that someone will spend a 3rd round pick on him as a KR/PR specialist, with the idea that he could potentially be used on offense in different capacities as well. Really looking forward to following his career and seeing what he can do.



January 4th, 2013 at 2:45 PM ^

I think he has potential as a Chris Johnson type tailback. Assuming he wows the scouts at the combines, he should put on 15lbs of muscle. He has a chance as a Percy Harvin type if he can prove his hands are adequate, however I don't see him being drafted as a KR/PR considering he has never done that in a game at the NCAA level.

If I were an owner, I'd probably take him in the low 3rd/high 4th round.

Ali G Bomaye

January 7th, 2013 at 1:43 PM ^

Bert Emanuel and Armanti Edwards were college QBs taken in the 2nd round as WRs.  Matt Jones was a college QB taken in the 1st round as a WR.  Antwaan Randle El played a little bit of WR in college, but was mostly a QB, and was drafted as a WR in the 2nd round.

NFL teams will take talented players no matter what their levels of experience.  Given that Denard is the most productive rushing QB of all time, I think the end of the second round is the floor for him.

turd ferguson

January 4th, 2013 at 2:46 PM ^

I think this is a really good board topic, but I honestly don't think we can answer this question.  We haven't seen enough of his hands to know whether he's a viable WR.  We haven't seen enough (well, any) of him trying to hang with a WR to know whether he's a viable CB.  I'm sure that those skills will be tested over the next few months.

I agree that KR/PR specialist seems entirely possible and that he doesn't really have the build of an NFL RB.  My best guess is that he eventually becomes a WR/KR, but that's really just a guess at this point.

Ali G Bomaye

January 7th, 2013 at 1:49 PM ^

Denard is within an inch and five pounds of Jamaal Charles, C.J. Spiller, and Chris Johnson, who are 3 of the top 9 rushers in the NFL this year.  Especially considering that he's carried the ball about 20 times per game over 3 years starting in the Big Ten, I think any concerns about his build are overblown.  Maybe he'll never carry the ball 20-25 times a game in the NFL, but he could be insanely valuable at 12 carries per game.


January 4th, 2013 at 2:46 PM ^

 I watched the South Carolina game, full of NFl prospects on defense. Ask them If you thought Denard looked like an NFL RB. Someone should post a video where Denard lowers his shoulder and runs over that SC LB or DB.

 I know running over a DB isn't that big of a deal..... right Thomas Rawls.



January 5th, 2013 at 12:08 AM ^

Hester is a really good comparison, not so much in playing ability, but in the gradual adaptation of his athleticism to other parts of the team. Hester's first and best role was kick returner, but as Chicago got to know him they put him in other places that he could profit the team. I see Denard developing the same way--you get him for one role, and train him in new skills to be useful.


January 4th, 2013 at 2:54 PM ^

I don't see him as a DB (mostly because he's never played much defense and when he has so much potential on the offensive side of the ball, why not tap into that).  While I'd love for him to fulfill his dream of playing QB, I won't get into the why I don't  see that happening (I'll leave that to the scouts and talent evaluators).  He didn't seem to run crisp routes as a wideout, and who knows how great of pass catcher he is (he seemed to "slap" at the ball when catching a couple of the screens thrown his way).  Though these are things that could be taugh. 

However, I see Denard's greatest potential as a starting RB in the NFL.  He has ALMOST all of the tools to be a great RB: top-end speed, vision, acceleration, cutting ability, etc.  There's no question he can take a pounding.  If Denard takes to the idea of becoming a RB (and giving up on QB, which I guess most people think is inevitable), he'll need to bulk up a bit to better sustain getting hit by NFL sized players, but as he added a bunch of muscle this past year, this does not seem to a problem for him goign forward.  His first task will be learning how to block and pass protect.  You can't blame him for being subpar at this (which was pretty evident in the last couple of games during those, you know, three or four snaps he was actually asked to pass block).  He never had to really practice this.  But it's Denard, he can do everything right?

Can't wait to watch him on Sundays.  As long as he isn't on the Patriots or Giants (disgruntled and embarrassed Jets fan here), I can't wait to get his jersey for my kid.



January 4th, 2013 at 3:28 PM ^

He did, forgot about that.  I still think it'd be more reasonable to stay on the offensive side of the ball, where as QB for four years he's learned where everyone needs to be on the field, giving him a great understanding of the entire offense.  He'd have a ton of catching up to do if he switched back to the defense.

But at the end of the day, whereever he ends up playing, and whoever he's playing for, we're all going to be rooting for him every snap.  I like these debate threads so much better than the OMG recruit wants to take a visit threads.


January 4th, 2013 at 6:31 PM ^

Can anyone name a solid pro DB who didn't play a single down at that position in college?

Seems logical that successful position switches are between similar positions; switches between disimilar positions just don't work because of the vast knowledge/experience/developed skills chasm.


January 4th, 2013 at 2:54 PM ^

It all depends on who drafts him.  He could play so many positions its just a function of what team snage him up first and how they evaluate him.

As a Michigan fan I want him to get playing time- I dont care at what position.  I doubt he will every get snaps at QB although that'd be best obviously- maybe a Randel El situation would be pretty cool. 

It would be weird to see him on defense...


January 4th, 2013 at 2:55 PM ^

I never understood the "slot receiver" talk surrounding Denard. He's a tailback and an occasional return man if I've ever seen one. His best skill is running behind blockers up the middle. Someone will find a place for him in their stable of tailbacks.


January 4th, 2013 at 3:03 PM ^

I think running back is the best fit, but I don't see him being a good blocker right off the bat.

Wherever he goes, I hope he learns to carry the ball in his right hand once in a while.


January 4th, 2013 at 3:08 PM ^

Name, Height, Weight

Denard Robinson, 6'0", 197

Jahvid Best, 5'10", 199

Reggie Bush, 6'0", 203

CJ Spiller, 5'11", 200

Chris Johnson, 5'11", 191

Lesean McCoy, 5'11", 208 

Jamaal Charles, 5'11, 199

Everybody else listed seems to be in the 215-230 range, and consistently under 6'0", with a few monsterback exceptions:…

I did read that one scout's opinion, but think a defensive position is silly.  Depends on what you think is easier to learn/fits his skill set better: route running & catching, or pass blocking.  I think he'll find success as "the Vincent Smith of the NFL".



January 4th, 2013 at 6:05 PM ^

Don't get the many people saying "he doesnt seem like an NFL RB". Do half the RBs in the NFL not seem like "NFL RB"?

He hasn't been asked to block much, so that skill probably needs work, but he seems pretty tough and willing to do anything.  I don't see that as being a major hurdle. 

Any other option (including QB) has way more learning curve and potential pitfalls to it.


January 4th, 2013 at 9:51 PM ^

It's a fair question and one I would have as well.  The good news is that very few teams use a single bell-cow type in the NFL anymore.  There are places on teams for a guy that get 10-12 carries and maybe be a threat out of the backfield as a reciver a la Darren Sproles.

However, he'd have a long way to go blocking which is a BIG deal in the NFL.  The Giants basically kept David Wilson on the bench all year because he couldn't block and he's the most talented back on the roster.

Someone will use a 3rd rounder on him, and it's probably too high given all the unknowns.


January 4th, 2013 at 3:09 PM ^

Belichick will find out where he works. He'd play him everywhere.

Danny Woodhead? He's a stud in that offense. Wherever Denard would shine they would surely find his calling.


January 4th, 2013 at 3:09 PM ^

How does his nerve injury affect his draft stock? Seems like there's not enough time between now and the combine to have surgery and recover, and who knows if it will heal on it's own by then. If he can't throw at the combine doesn't that pretty much eliminate his already slim chances at playing QB in the NFL?



January 4th, 2013 at 3:11 PM ^

He essentially played running back in college, and specialized in broken plays, avoiding tackles, slipping through gaps in the line, and speed. I see him as a CJ Spiller/ Darren Sproles/Reggie Bush type player. Taking a handoff, or catching the ball as the checkdown, maybe on return duty, too.


January 4th, 2013 at 3:13 PM ^

too boost (or hurt) his draft stock if he were going to one of the post season all star games. I haven't heard that he's been invited to any.


January 4th, 2013 at 3:15 PM ^

Thinking Denard is a no-brainer to get drafted as a RB/KR.  I could see him being a productive 3rd down back, and frankly, I will be surprised if he lasts past the 3rd round.


January 4th, 2013 at 3:16 PM ^

I don't see a team taking him in the first 3 rounds as a pure kick returner with all of the stupid new kickoff rules in the NFL. The kickoff rules make it hard to be a return specialist in the NFL especially since they have been kicking around the idea of eliminating kickoffs from the game.

I still see him getting drafted late 2nd or early 3rd round as a running back/slot receiver similar to Dexter McCluster