Denard Robinson ready to play any position in NFL
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Denard Robinson is willing to do whatever it takes to play in the NFL.
"I'm open to a lot of ideas," Robinson said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press. "I just want to make it one day. I hope that whatever team picks me utilizes my talents in whatever ways they want to do it."
The former Michigan quarterback plans to travel on Friday to Mobile, Ala., to begin showing and telling teams in the league he's open-minded.
Robinson is expected to practice and play as a wide receiver at the Senior Bowl. He said taking snaps in a wildcat-style formation along with playing running back, returning kickoffs and punts are also options.
And, the 6-foot, 197-pound Robinson insists he's even willing to play cornerback — a position switch suggested by a former executive in the league — if an NFL team wants to move him to the other side of the ball.
"I'm up for whatever," he said. "Why not?"
Robinson said he played cornerback sometimes at Deerfield Beach High School in Florida as a senior.
"If the other team had more than one good receiver, they'd put me at corner," he recalled. "I was pretty good."
He set an NCAA record for QBs with 4,495 yards rushing in his career, breaking the mark Pat White set at West Virginia from 2005-2008. At Michigan, only Mike Hart has run for more yards than Robinson did the previous four seasons.
Robinson said he plans to finish his degree this semester while training in Ann Arbor for the NFL draft in April.
He ran for 100 yards — for the 20th time in his career — on 23 carries in his finale with the Wolverines. He primarily played running back and also took snaps and lined up as a receiver in a loss to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.
Nerve damage in his right elbow knocked him off the field Oct. 27 at Nebraska, keeping him out for the next two games and limiting his ability to throw during the final two games of the regular season and on New Year's Day.
Robinson had 10,776 yards of total offense, ranking sixth in Big Ten history. In the conference record books, he finished one spot lower than Indiana's Antwaan Randle El, who successfully made a transition from playing quarterback in college to receiver in the NFL after being drafted by Pittsburgh in the second round of the 2002 draft.
Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage recently said Robinson's athleticism, ball skills and speed compares to Randle El, who caught 370 for 4,467 yards and 15 touchdowns in his NFL career with Pittsburgh and Washington Redskins. Randle El also scored five times on punt returns and once off a kickoff.
NFL draft consultant and former Dallas Cowboys general manager Gil Brandt has said he'd draft Robinson to be a cornerback.
"A quarterback never wants to be told he's going to have to play another position, but I don't think he can play quarterback in the NFL," Brandt said last month. "I do know teams are always looking for cornerbacks, and I think Robinson could do it because of his quickness and speed.
"But he'd have to want to do it to make it work."
And, Robinson does, making it very clear that he's OK with being known as a former QB.
"I am just open to do whatever I've got to do to get a shot in the NFL," he said. "It doesn't matter to me where I play. I just want to play."
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