Denard Robinson generating interest from Lions at WR, but remains limited by elbow
MOBILE, Ala. -- Denard Robinson says he'll be a receiver, or punt returner, or the guy who fills the Gatorade coolers. Whatever it takes to stick in the NFL.
It appears receiver could do the trick.
The former Wolverines star said Monday after his first workout for the Senior Bowl that he already has spoken with "several" teams, including the Detroit Lions. He didn't disclose any details, other than clubs want to see him at receiver.
"They said they wanna see me catch," Robinson told MLive.com after the practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. "That's what they're all telling me, and that's what I want to show people. I know I can catch. I'm a football player. Just got to show it."
Unfortunately for Robinson, he didn't do much of that Monday.
He ran routes early in the workout, catching 9-of-10 passes in one drill, and showed decent hands. His only drop came on a short slant.
But he also wore a yellow no-contact jersey, and was held out for more than half the practice.
Robinson, who damaged the ulnar nerve in his right elbow Oct. 27 and continues to wear a protective sleeve, said he wasn't medically cleared by Michigan's training staff to participate in the contact drills. Team trainer Paul Schmidt recommended he wait at least another day to participate fully.
That's a setback for Robinson, who scouts and analysts have said could climb into the second round if he showed at the Senior Bowl he could catch.
So far, that remains up in the air.
"It's a little frustrating," Robinson said. "But I got the whole week. It'll be fine. There's time, and a lot of teams are talking to me, and just telling me to be patient."
Robinson did shag punts Monday, although struggled to field the ball cleanly. He said there was a chance he would participate in contact drills Tuesday -- and that would be a major plus for him.
The Senior Bowl is a critical week for players making position changes, and Robinson is making a radical one. He showed decent hands Monday, catching almost everything that came his way, but he didn't look entirely natural at the position and didn't have to make plays against a live defense.
Teams, such as the Lions, want to see what he can do against defensive backs.
"When you have a position conversion as radical as quarterback to receiver, everyone wants to see you catch the ball, and they want to see you catch it while you're being contested," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock told MLive.com. "He did a little bit of the individual drills, but didn't do any of the one-on-one stuff and that's what people came here to see.
"Missing most of the day, that's a big challenge for him, but what I loved about him is his toughness. He has so many touches at the University of Michigan, you know he's a tough kid. The question becomes, does he catch the ball naturally, and how good is he at route-running?"
Robinson made a modest cameo at receiver in Michigan's final three games, when he cycled between wideout, tailback and quarterback after injuring his elbow. He made three catches for 31 yards.
That transition begins in earnest this week, and personnel from the Lions -- and much of the league -- is earnestly waiting to see what he can do.
"He's one of these guys who is quicker than fast," Mayock said. "He can be a good slot receiver. But, he has to show he can separate."
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