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Posted on Tue, May 1, 2012 : 2:13 p.m.

Post-draft hot topic: What is Denard Robinson's NFL position?

By Nick Baumgardner


Will Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, above, continue to throw passes in the NFL? file photo

Mel Kiper Jr. thinks Denard Robinson has no business playing quarterback in the NFL.

One sports site predicts -- albeit somewhat playfully -- that the Michigan football team's dynamic quarterback will be a first-round selection by the Carolina Panthers in the 2013 NFL draft.

As an "athlete."

"Between Cam Newton, Joe Adams, Steve Smith and Robinson (he’s no NFL QB), the Panthers will be exciting,"'s Jason McIntyre wrote Tuesday. "Also, this is a for-fun pick, it will never happen.

"It’s way too early to tell if Shoelaces is a first-round pick."

Robinson's NFL future has been a hot debate topic for some time now, but where he'll be taken really isn't the pressing question. It's where he'll play once he gets there that seems to draw the most interest.

On Monday, Kiper -- an ESPN analyst -- told reporters via conference call that the 6-foot, 195-pound Robinson has "no chance" of playing quarterback after his college career ends next season.

Kiper suggested Robinson accept that fact, and go all-in as a wide receiver prospect once Michigan's 2012 campaign comes to a close.

Robinson has gone on record saying he'd like to pursue a career at quarterback in the NFL, telling The Associated Press just that during a March interview.

After being asked by a reporter last season if he felt like he could be on the receiving end of a pass during a game, Robinson quickly said he's not sure.

He's never done it.

"I'm going to tell you this, I never caught a ball before. I've always been behind the center," Robinson said at the time. "I never caught a ball during a game."

At nearly 200 pounds and with a high school 40-yard dash time clocked at 4.32 seconds, Robinson will likely have a future in the NFL in some capacity.

What might that be, exactly? That remains unclear.

What is crystal clear, though, is Robinson's immediate future as the starting quarterback at Michigan. Which seems to be more than enough.

For now.

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Sat, May 5, 2012 : 5:27 a.m.

Denard's greatest accomplishment at Michigan is to be a supportive fan of the basketball program. On the field he's been mediocre against teams not named Minnesota, Indiana, Western Michigan, etc. His only GOOD game has been vs. ND in 2011. Most overrated player in the history of B10 football. Nowhere near physical enough to play in the NFL.


Sat, May 5, 2012 : 5:15 a.m.

He'll play flat on his back in the NFL and might be lucky enough to make a practice squad with hope that he can make a roster by season 3. He won't.

Alex Migda

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

ball boy


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

First...Let the kid enjoy his senior year! Postulating his draft position days after this years draft took place is so asinine! Besides, he's a terrible QB! No power. No accuracy. Way undersized for just about every position in the NFL. Anyone remember Pat White?? Yeah, he's not doing much these days. D-Rob is a GREAT athlete. He's quick, agile, slippery and has decent vision on the field, but he lacks everything else to be anything but a novelty in the NFL.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 2:44 a.m.

When you say "way undersized for just about every position in the NFL", you mean the same size as Chris Johnson, a guy who ran for 2000 yards in a season? Or maybe you mean as big as or bigger than the average cornerback? Or maybe you think a guy can't grow once he hits 20 years old. Nah, no way he could put on 10-15 lbs of muscle as a pro, you know, when he can do it full-time and not spend so much time in class. Come on, son.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

except Tebow weighs about 60 lbs more and is a few inches taller


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

this was supposed to reply to the first comment


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 11:26 a.m.

Denard won't be a QB at the next level. Perhaps if he showed the passing talent to go along with his speed, he might. But to me it's obvious a team will use his athletic ability in a different way from your typical QB. Maybe special packages. As for being a WR, RB or PR, I haven't seen enough of the kid as a receiver, and he'd be pretty outmatched by most every RB in the league so he can't play there. Maybe some kind of specialized athlete for various plays. Love his raw speed, we'll have to see how he transitions to the pros as a straight athlete, as he did coming into Michigan.

Scott Laux

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 4:36 a.m.

He has his senior year left. I think he is going to become a heck of a passer and we all know what he can do with his feet.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 3:05 a.m.

I recall the same discussion back min the late 70's when delusional Michigan fans felt Ricky Leach was the second coming of Unitas, even though all he ran was that outdated option offense that Bo swore by.


Sat, May 5, 2012 : 5:24 a.m.

Yeh...that DREAM ended when MSU and Kirk Gibson showed up in AA in 1978 by CRUSHING M on the field 500 yards to 200. We all know where Gibby headed and is now. Is Leach working at Dominos?


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 1:46 a.m.

So over the last 9 years, of what would have been 18 semi-final games... the SUGAR was used = 6 the Orange was used = 6 the Rose was used = 6 Miraculously they each even out at 6 games. What's to become of the Fiesta ?


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.

Nobody read this whole thing, Nobody reads Posts that are longer than the article. You need to figure out what you want to say then say it in as few words as possible.......


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 1:34 a.m.

(2009) 1 alabama 2 texas 3 cincinatti 4 tcu Sugar...alabama vs tcu Orange...texas vs cincinatti (2008) 1 oklahoma 2 florida 3 texas 4 alabama Orange...oklahoma vs alabama Sugar...florida vs texas (2007) 1 ohio st 2 lsu 3 virginia tech 4 oklahoma Rose...ohio st vs oklahoma Sugar...lsu vs virginia tech (2006)... 1 ohio st 2 florida 3 michigan 4 lsu Rose....ohio st vs lsu Sugar...florida vs michigan (2005) 1 texas 2 usc 3 penn st 4 ohio st Orange...texas vs ohio st Rose...usc vs penn st (2004) 1 usc 2 oklahoma 3 auburn 4 california Rose...usc vs california Orange...oklahoma vs auburn (2003) 1 oklahoma 2 usc 3 lsu 4 michigan Orange...oklahoma vs michigan Rose...usc vs lsu


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 1:11 a.m.

What about defensive back ? On another note I have been saying that the college football conference championship games should be eliminated and replaced with the start of an 8 team conference championship tournament. It now appears that this plan will most likely be added in in time. The other part of the plan I had is the one that is now going to be used.....The Higher seeded teams in the now, four team tournament, will host the a semifinal game at their traditional tie-in bowl.. In other words if USC or Michigan are the higher seed in that semi-final, then the Rose bowl will be used for that semi game. If the higher seeded team is a SEC team the bowl that will be used in one of the semi games is the sugar bowl. So for example.... the top 4 at the end of the 2010 regular season was.....1 auburn 2 oregon 3 tcu 4 stanford Sugar auburn vs stanford Rose oregon vs tcu 2011 1 lsu 2 alabama 3 oklahoma st 4 stanford Sugar lsu vs stanford Orange alabama vs oklahoma st ( I assume it would be the orange since the big 12 is tied in with them and the sugar is already chosen for sec teams. Logically the next bowl used should be rewarded for having their team place.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 1:09 a.m.

Denard will improve drastically in his accuracy and decision making this year, just like he did in year two under RR. He was told out of HS that he was no college QB, and he has made himself a pretty good one. When he leads us to a victory in ohio later this year, pro scouts will take notice. Mel Kiper will change his opinion from "no chance" to "maybe"

Scott Laux

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 4:38 a.m.

Your right- he's going to have a 70% completion rate and win the Heisman. I can feel it.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 12:07 a.m.

Umless he can prove that he can actually catch a ball and run a pass route, he will go undrafted.

Scott Laux

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 4:40 a.m.

That's silly. if he didn't improve at all he'd go third round at the latest. The NFL is all about speed.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

Yeah, he sucks. He should have led UM to far more than 40 points points last year against ohio and their weak, poorly coached D. Good thing for the Bucks they have a new D-coordinator next yea--uh, scratch that. My bad.


Tue, May 1, 2012 : 11:38 p.m.

one thing for certain----if self-proclaimed expert mel kiper says something, it must be so. he's never been wrong in his life----or so he'd like everyone to believe.


Tue, May 1, 2012 : 11:19 p.m.

Unsigned free agent, Is that a position? Practice squad QB? Hey i just found out on Pawn Stars that even members on the practice teams get rings if their team wins the super bowl, so there is still hope for Denard.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 12:48 a.m.

This post doesn't make any sense. You start out talking about Terrelle Pryor, then you end with "there is still hope for Denard." I don't get it.


Tue, May 1, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

He would make a pretty good safety in the pros. He has enough speed to be a great "make up' player on plays where coverage is busted by the interior defense. Granted, one on one with "Megatron" might be a bit to handle, but there isn't a defense in the NFL that was playing straight man against jim last year. Ad to that some return duties and slot assignments, and he could be a very well paid athelete and commercial spokesperson.


Tue, May 1, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

He has the potential to become an Antwaan Randle El, or perhaps a lesser version of Percy Harvin. He's one of the most exciting players in college and it'd be great to see him do something in the pros.


Tue, May 1, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.

I understand that fans like to puff out their chests and brag about how many players from their respective teams go on and play in the NFL and that is fine. But first and foremost they have to perform and help Team 133 compete at the highest level possible. If after that, they are go on to the NLF, good for them. All this talk about where player X will go and what he may or may not do at this point is all hogwash.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

must proof read "write"


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.

hey ted. . . why don't you right a book on loyalty. . . you could call it " how to pretend to be something you are not". . . at the book signing i'am sure your number one fan "rightmind " would be there! GO BLUE!!!!!!


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 3 a.m.

dconkey ....Michigan places near the very top when it comes to putting players in the NFL . DEnard will be a great player in the NFL regardless of what position he plays . I am one of the most loyal Michigan fans there is and the Michigan football program would not be what it is without me. I was so proud when we won the Sugar bowl last year. I felt it was like a huge reward and I thought I really deserved it. My friends from out of town were calling me after the game congradgulating me for the season. It is great to be a Michigan Wolverine !!

David Misek

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 1:24 a.m.

What is the NLF (the National Liberation Front)?


Tue, May 1, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

This is the second story of the day regarding what position Denard will play in the NFL. I did not cast a vote in the pool becuae I would defer until the conclusion of the 2012-13 season. Denard needs to cross the bridges one at a time. His total focus, for at least the next 8 months, is the impreove his QB skills at Michigan, complete his academic program and graduate. He can think about his NFL options after the Bowl season ends and maybe then, the discussion will become relevent.


Tue, May 1, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

Talk about beating a dead horse.Maybe we could talk about switching the uniforms from addidas to nike.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 3:38 p.m.

Dead horse? I didn't know he's already in the pros! The topic won't die until he's actually drafted. Then, asking what will happen will be moot. Popular and ongoing debates aren't dead horses. In fact, they are running down the backstretch, as we write.

Howard the Duck

Tue, May 1, 2012 : 7:12 p.m.

He can't throw against B1G secondaries. If any pro franchise drafted him as a QB, he'd become another Tim Tebow.


Sat, May 5, 2012 : 5:18 a.m.

AZW - Denard threw 15 picks in 2011. That stinks. Nuff said. Where's the threat?


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 2:40 a.m.

Actually, ethanblue, if you assume a "worse" college QB equates to a "worse" pro QB, then by that logic, there shouldn't be any pro QBs better than Tebow. And what are the biggest knocks against Tebow? Long, slow release. Denard's release is much quicker and more compact. And as far as Tebow's numbers in college compared to Denard's, well, Tebow didn't have to learn a completely new system his Junior year. Denard's numbers were pretty good after his first year as a starter, and we can probably assume he wouldn't have regressed had he had the same offense this past year. And did you actually watch Michael Vick throw in college? His completion % was barely over 50%. He wasn't that good, either.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 3:37 p.m.

Tebow was waaaay better as a college QB than Denard is or has been. Tebow threw 15 ints in his entire 4 years, with 88 passing TDs. Robinson, in contrast, had 15ints this year. Robinson is a winner, mentally, yes, but he's nowhere as good as Tebow was as a thrower in college. Since Tebow struggles in the Pros with throwing, it is safe to assume that a poorer college QB (who is also 5 inches shorter than Tebow) will be a poor pro qb. If all it took was being a winner and having speed, then sure, Robinson will be amaaaaazing at QB in the pros. STOP with dream, people. He's nowhere as good a thrower as fast college QBs like Vick or Tyrod Taylor or Charlie Ward were, and he's even further from short guys like Doug Flutie and Drew Brees. It's quite simple: he has poor accuracy, no touch on his deep throws (miracle catches all year by JR and Gallon), and the only thing he consistently does is throw bad passes while being tackled or on the run. He can't read a defense or progress threw a route tree. He misses easy tosses to TEs and bubble screens. In the NFL, your QB must get the ball to the playmakers, not run sweep left and right. He may work situationally doing some read options like Tebow did this past year, but come on fans. Take off the Wool-verine from your eyes for a second and understand that our QB is a fast kid whose talent will only get him so far at the position he wants. And he can try and prove critics wrong, good for him, but he'd be better to swallow his pride and realize that he can have a career like Devin Hester, Josh Cribbs (also a better passing QB at Kent St.) or a Hines Ward...or he can be stubborn like the 1990s Nebraska continent of great running QBs like Scott Frost and Tommy Frazier.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 9:50 a.m.

Right on the money Dylan. Robinson is becoming the true definition of a winner. And as a fan be has my 1000% support for whatever position he decides to play at the next level! GO BLUE!!!

Scott Laux

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 4:42 a.m.

And Tebow went in the first round.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

Are you implying that neither Nebraska nor ohio has B1G secondaries? That's cold.


Tue, May 1, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.

pro bowl alternate, took team to the playoffs winning the wildcard game? I think denard would be fine with that.