A former four-star recruit out of Western Hills in Kentucky, Wan’Dale Robinson was the 87th-ranked player in the country. He was known for his versatility in high school. The 21-year-old played snaps at safety, linebacker, receiver, quarterback, running back, punt returner, and kickoff returner. This led him to earn both the Paul Hornung Award and Kentucky Mr. Football as a senior in 2018. Ultimately landing at the University of Nebraska, the 5’9 wide receiver spent two seasons with the Corn Huskers. Used both as a receiver and a rusher out of the backfield, he racked up over 700 scrimmage yards and ten touchdowns across two seasons.
The Frankfort, Kentucky native earned an honorable mention for the All-Big Ten by coaches. Choosing to transfer to the University of Kentucky for his junior campaign, Robinson quickly became one of the most dangerous weapons in college football under Mark Stoops. The undisputed number one receiver for the team, he shattered the program’s single-season total catches and yards marks by hauling in 104 receptions for 1,334 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games.
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Name: Wan’dale Robinson
Jersey: No. 1
Position: Wide Receiver
Weight: 178 lbs
Games Watched: South Carolina (2021), Florida (2021), LSU (2021), Georgia (2021), Tennessee (2021)
Major Injury History: None
Hands/Ball Security (7/10)
Possessing reliable natural hands, Robinson can track the ball well and adjust his body to make difficult receptions. He can snatch the ball out of the air while showing the focus to make difficult catches. Fearless at the catch point, he can take contact downfield to haul in a pass. Limited by his smaller frame and length, he does not have an overly large radius. This led him to become a body catcher at times, leading to drops. Furthermore, he can also struggle against extremely long and physical corners.
Contested Catch (7.5/10)
Fearless despite his smaller stature, Robinson can fight through contact at the catch point to haul in balls downfield. A strong tracker of the football, he can adjust his body to bring in the pass while bracing for the hit. Furthermore, he has the contact balance to maintain possession of the ball going to the ground while also having the ability to shake loose and create a big play. This led the junior to have some highlight-reel grabs last season.
Tracking/Body Control (8/10)
A skillful tracker of the football downfield, Robinson can open up to the ball while not breaking stride. Furthermore, he can adjust his body positioning to an errant throw by his quarterback, allowing him to haul in the pass with ease. Not a receiver who will consistently win with the ball in the air, he still displays the willingness to go up and get it if he has to.
Route Running (6.5/10)
Operating in the slot for the majority of his time in college football, Robinson is not a true route running technician. However, he still has the twitchiness and burst to win consistently in the middle of the field. He understands leverage to stem off and the top of his route to create separation from the opposing defender. The junior makes his money running go routes, fades, slant, hitches, and wide receiver smoke screens.
The best attribute of his game, Robinson has the quickness and burst to run past opposing defenders in man coverage. Along with this, he can gain ground quickly against opponents in zone. With as good of straight-line speed as any receiver in the draft class, he can also break down on his route and set up his breaks in and out of routes to shake free. Hampered by his smaller size, stature, and playing weight, he was sometimes given problems by big physical press corners at the line of scrimmage. This led him to be knocked off or diverted from his route path.
Displaying decent release packages on tape, Robinson is very raw. He has the natural instincts and ability to win off the line of scrimmage. Along with this, the junior also has quick twitchy footwork that allows him to beat opposing defensive backs. However, he sometimes struggles to win against press coverage due to his small size and stature. Teams will need to get creative at the NFL level by moving him all over the formation to get him free runs off the line of scrimmage.
Run After the Catch (8/10)
A slippery player with the ball in his hands, Robinson has the speed and explosiveness to rack up yards after the catch. He has the agility and shiftiness to make the first man miss while turning on the after-burners down the field. A gadget-like player, he has the vision to navigate through traffic while cutting down the angle on the opposing defensive back.
Vertical Speed (8/10)
Clocking in at an official time of 4.44 seconds during his 40-yard dash time at the NFL combine, Robinson plays even quicker than that in-game. Robinson can use a good initial burst to gain ground quickly on opposing defenders while running past them downfield. Along with this, he can change the pace of his routes to set up cornerbacks while turning on his second gear to run past them vertically.
Able to get up to top speed with ease, Robinson often creates a chunk play as a result of his burst in short-yardage situations. Robinson displays a twitchiness and acceleration ability on tape that allows him to stop and start on a dime. This allows him to set up opposing defenders while making them miss in the open field to create chunk plays. Often used as the motion man in the Wildcat’s offense last season, he can take the ball on sweep and screenplays and produce in the open field.
Scoring poorly at the NFL combine, Robinson racked up a RAS score of 5.29 out of 10. He posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.44 seconds with a ten-yard split of 1.59 and a 20-yard split of 2.59. This ranked 1206 out of 2557 WR from 1987 to 2022. A better athlete than he showed when testing, the one-time Second-Team All-Sec member is explosive on the field.
A physical player despite his smaller size, Robinson displays a willingness to block on tape. Not afraid to get his nose dirty, he can square up an opposing player on run plays while showing a leg drive and fight. Spending time at running back during his first two years at the University of Nebraska, Robinson also can pop opposing blitzes during pass protection duties in the backfield.
A versatile weapon for any offense, Robinson is a converted running back and has experience taking carries and running routes out of the backfield. He has also spent time on special teams. Projecting to be a slot receiver/scatback at the NFL level, he will make an impact in the quick game on crossing routes, screen passes, etc., that allow him to showcase his speed and burst.
Robinson has the makeup to be a starting slot receiver at the NFL level down the line. A playmaker with the ball in his hands, he is developing as a route runner while displaying a good understanding of leverage and temp. Robinson has the burst to make plays in the short area. Along with this, he can also run past opposing cornerbacks vertically down the field while occasionally displaying the ability to go up and high point the football. At his best with the ball in his hands, Robinson should make the most impact as a versatile chess piece for an offense in a play-action-heavy scheme.
Rookie Projections: Rotational Slot Receiver
Third Year Projections: Starting Slot Receiver
Final Grade (80/100): Early Third Round Pick
Player Comp: Isaiah McKenzie
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images