Each time an ESPN camera peeked in on Denard Robinson's living room in Deerfield Beach, Fla., the former Michigan quarterback sat on the couch with a weary look on his face. As the fourth round of Saturday's NFL draft wore on, it was clear to translate the expression: Worry. Frustration. Wondering where - and even if - he would get selected by a pro football team.
Finally, two picks into the fifth round, the Jacksonville Jaguars called Robinson's name as the 135th pick.
“Of course you want to go higher, but I'm think this makes me hungry,” Robinson told Jaguars.com on Saturday. “I'm not mad about it. I'm happy to be drafted and I'm ready to go to work."
However, the Jaguars selected Robinson as a running back - and not as a wide receiver, as he entered the draft, or as a quarterback, the position in which he flourished in his four seasons at Michigan.
In 37 starts at Michigan - including two games at running back - Robinson rushed for 4,495 yards, an NCAA Division I-A record for quarterbacks. In 2010, Robinson became the first FBS player to pass for at least 2,500 yards (2,570) and rush for at least 1,500 yards (1,702) in one season.
Robinson finished his four years at Michigan second in career rushing yards and third in career rushing touchdowns (42).
Robinson also played at wide receiver in the Senior Bowl and worked out on special teams in preparation for the draft, and the Florida Times-Union also reported that the Jaguars plan to utilize Robinson as a kick returner and possibly in its Wildcat package.
While Robinson’s strength is in his speed, also factoring into Robinson’s shift was an injury to the ulnar nerve in his right (throwing) arm, sustained in October, that limited his ability to throw. In early April, NFL.com reported that Robinson regained sensation in his right hand and fingers, and testing at an NFL draft combine re-check last month showed that the strength in Robinson’s right hand had doubled.
"I'm surprised he didn't go earlier," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock told NFL.com. "Forget about durability and size, this is a kid that's as tough as anybody I've ever seen. He's a playmaker. I don't care if he's a slot, running back or a return man. I bet you he's a gunner on punt return, too. You have to find a spot for him."
Now, he’s taken to labeling himself as an “offensive weapon.”
“A lot of teams put me at different positions so it was fun doing that stuff,” Robinson said. “Now it's time for me to go to work.
“Whatever it takes to get on the football field, that's what I'm going to do. I'm an offensive weapon.”
Also, be genuinely happy for Will Campbell, whom the New York Jets took in the sixth round today. Three years ago, he volunteered to move from defensive line to offensive line under Rich Rodriguez and during the course of his career at Michigan, he struggled with his weight. One had to wonder if he had any future in football outside of Michigan.
But coming into this year, Campbell committed. During the preseason in August, you could tell a noticable difference in Campbell - there wasn't a proverbial spare tire hanging around his waist.
"I was a complete slob," the 6-foot-5, 311-pound Campbell told the Detroit Free Press. "Now I'm in shape, flat stomach, can run all day. It's just a complete difference. It was terrible ... now it's a complete difference."
Although he wasn't invited to the combine, Campbell, a Cass Tech product, worked out for several teams leading up to the draft, including the Jets and the Detroit Lions.