As a NFL Draft Profile – Wan’Dale Robinson is one of my favourite players in the draft this year. He is a legit playmaker who will make things happen and is by far the best gadget player in this class. In the past year Robinson transferred from Nebraska to the Kentucky Wildcats to have a dedicated wide receiver role.
When I watch Robinson play I instantly think of him as a better version of the Giants Kadarius Toney. Both are fast, explosive and shift players who can run great routes. I just hope that Robinson lands at a team who will deploy him much better than how the Giants used Toney.
NFL Combine Measurables:
- Height – 5’11
- Weight – 185 LBS
- 40 Time – 4.44 Seconds
- Vertical Jump – 34.5
- Broad Jump – 118
Prospect Grade (Accoridng to NFL.com) – 6.17 – potential to develop in to a starter
Throughout high school he established himself as a versatile gadget player. He produced an impressive 8500 yards and 130 touchdowns throughout his four year career with Western Hills. Robinson was a four-star recruit out of high school. He was ranked in the top 250 players. This led to him receiving 13 offers before he committed to the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
In his freshman year he became an instant part of the Cornhuskers offense as he featured heavily in their ground game as he rushed 88 times for 340 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. Showcasing his versatility, Robinson saw action in the air game as he hauled in 40 receptions for 453 yards and a further two touchdowns – the most by any true freshman in Nebraska history. An impressive freshman year led to Freshman All-American honors as per The Athletic.
In his sophomore year Robinson continued to up his productivity despite the COVID disrupted season as he produced almost as many all scrimmage yards in two games less. Robinson continued to show off his versatile playing style has he hauled in 51 receptions for 461 yards and a touchdown and on the ground he rushed 46 times for 240 yards and a touchdown. A successful sophomore campaign led to an honorable mention in the All-Big Ten by Conference coaching staff and he was nominated for the Paul Hornung Award – awarded to the most versatile player in college football, missing out to Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith.
In the past year the Kentucky native opted to move back home and join the Kentucky Wildcats as he was promised a wide receiver focused role in their shake-up as the Wildcats also bought in Penn State QB Will Levis and a new Offensive Coordinator Liam Coenm the former assistant of the LA Rams.
Robinson made the most of his wide receiver focused role for the Wildcats as he caught 104 targets for 1,334 yards and seven touchdowns. He was rarely used in the ground game but when did see action he was effective as he rushed seven times for 111 yards. Robinson was the Citrus Bowl MVP as he caught ten targets for 170 yards as the Wildcats beat the Iowa Hawkeyes. Individual accolades followed as he received Second Team All-SEC honors and gained first team honors via PFF.
I have already touched on this but Robinson’s best part of his game is his exceptional versatility. Especially with the growing impact of gadget players in the NFL. When I watch him, especially throughout his time at Nebraska he reminds me of players such as Rondale Moore and Kadarius Toney. Robinson’s excellent athleticism and his insane explosive abilities allow him to excel in the air and the ground.
The consensus with gadget players is that they are jack of all trades and a master of none but rest assured Robinson bucks the trend. He has exceptional hands and this is arguably his best trait as a receiver and he can haul in difficult catches. Furthermore, when he is going downfield he plays with toughness and he isn’t afraid of getting hit at the catch point.
Whilst he isn’t a master technician as route runner he has all of the skills to be a top slot receiver. Due to his great balance, quickness and excellent vision. Additionally, he will often leave linebackers and defensive backs in his shadow as his speed and physicality allow him to gain leverage.
Robinson may well be the best gadget player in the draft. But this can also be reflected in a negative way as he’s only spent one full season as a dedicated wide receiver and he still has a lot to learn. His route running will need considerable improvement if he is to make an impact in the NFL.
Robinson’s frame worries me. The bigger defenders in the NFL will be oozing at the thought of matching up against him. He has shorter arms which will reduce his catch radius in contested catches. Furthermore, his size will limit his role as he’s only suited to playing the slot as he is nowhere near big enough to match up on the outside.
I would like to see Robinson return that gadget role in the NFL. Let’s be real for a minute. The fact that his frame only pinpoints him as a slot receiver will limit his playability. No NFL coach in their right mind will use high draft capital on a player with limitations at the skill position. This past year we have seen good levels of success from Cordarelle Patterson and Deebo Samuel. Both playing that gadget role and this is how Robinson would be best deployed.
Pre Draft Analysis:
Expected Draft Capital – 2nd Round
I think we will see Wan’Dale Robinson land with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have just lost their superstar slot receiver Tyreek Hill. Robinson would prove to be an exceptional pick for them to help Mahomes out with a speedster to target.
Similar to Robinson’s past season in Kentucky, the Chiefs could use him mainly as a wide receiver. They could still get him involved occasionally in the ground game. especially as Edwards-Helaire is somewhat injury prone. Having missed 11 games since being drafted.
-Luke Renton @MCRsBlue