Martin Mayhew said teams looking at Denard Robinson should have a specific role in mind

Posted Feb 23, 2013

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew says that, because Michigan's Denard Robinson can do so many different things, teams should really focus in on a specific role

INDIANAPOLIS - When Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew sat down to watch former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson at the Senior Bowl last month, he said he had a hard time projecting one specific position Robinson would play at the next level.

"I think he's the ultimate, sort of Swiss Army knife type of player," Mayhew said at NFL Scouting Combine Friday. "He can do so many things, and he's very good at a lot of things.

"I think he's a really talented guy; very skilled athlete; has a lot of things he can do, whether it's running the ball, catching the ball, as a returner."

But Mayhew said Robinson is the kind of player that a team has to draft with a very specific plan in place for him.

"If you take him, you have to know what you're going to do with him because he can do a lot of different things, but you've got to really specify what his role's going to be on your football team."

Denard RobinsonRight now, Robinson says that role is receiver. At least that's what teams are telling him here at the Combine.

It's the same role he had at the Senior Bowl last month when he struggled to catch the ball at times.

Part of those struggles was due to being thrown into a position he'd never played before against some of the best college talent in the game. He was also dealing with numbness and tingling in his right hand after suffering a nerve injury during his senior season.

Robinson said his hand is currently at 60 percent and he'll have to come back in April for a second checkup.

Injury aside, Robinson said the biggest challenge moving from quarterback to receiver is learning to be a precise route-runner.

"You have to know how to run routes, get out of the breaks fast, attack the ball when the ball gets in the air and those are the things you have to work on as a receiver," he said.

Teams have approached him this week about a role as a third-down running back in certain situations, but teams continue to look at him mainly as a receiver, punt returner and kickoff return man.

Frankly, the more Robinson can do, the more attractive he'll be to teams.

He's one of the most athletic players in the draft and said he'd like to prove during his 40-yard dash time Sunday that a match race between he and Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt would be a pretty good race.

But no matter what time Robinson records in the 40-yard dash Sunday, he's still considered a bit of a gamble in the draft.

"A lot of people gamble, don't you think," Robinson said with a smile. "I think I'd be a pretty sure bet. That's me. If a team picks me, I don't think it's a bad risk. I'm going to go 100 percent and do whatever it takes to be the best at doing it. That's me."