Wan’Dale Robinson, WR
A former four-star recruit out of Western Hills High School in Frankfort, Kentucky, who transferred to Kentucky after the 2020 season, Robinson attended the University of Nebraska and was the top Kentuckian recruit during the 2019 cycle.
Robinson initially planned to attend Kentucky, but Nebraska head coach Scott Frost convinced him to flip his commitment and take his talents to Lincoln. Kentucky hired offensive coordinator Liam Coen, a former coach on the Los Angeles Rams staff, which is evident when watching the film.
This hire piqued the interest of Robinson; couple that with the idea of being closer to home, and Robinson felt it was time to take his talents elsewhere. He entered the transfer portal and was a star for the Kentucky offense in 2021.
Robinson had a productive career at Nebraska. In two seasons, he had 1,494 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns. Robinson was targeted 140 times during his junior year, catching 104 balls (74.3% catch rate) with an aDOT (average depth of target) or 12.9. He finished the season with 1,342 yards and seven touchdowns.
Robinson was used in many ways but was primarily aligned in the slot. He was the deep threat off of play-action, ran many jet-sweep/touch passes in the backfield (Sean McVay type stuff), and was successful at all three levels of the field. He was a PFF second-team All-American and was first-team All-SEC, per Phil Steele and PFF.
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ESPN’s Todd McShay recently compared him to former SEC star Deebo Samuel. I believe his skill-set is more akin to another SEC player in Kadarius Toney. I think Robinson may be a little bit more complete as a receiver (he still needs work, though† Still, Toney’s change of direction and ability to evade surpasses Robinson’s skills in that area, albeit Robinson is excellent there too.
- An electric athlete who is dynamic in space
- Good deep speed and ability to separate over the top
- Excellent change of direction skills and agility
- Creates explosive plays downfield
- Dynamic with the football in his hands; great ability to evade in short/confined spaces
- Really quick feet, flexibility, and twitch that suggest possible growth with his release package
- Solid release package as constructed
- Shown plenty of wins at the LOS that ended in CBs stacked
- Quick accelerator who creates separation athletically
- Does a great job tracking the football in the air while not losing speed
- Plays balanced and positioned up until he has to extend for catches
- Makes highlight reel catches
- Does a solid job using his hands to pluck the ball when it’s in front of him
- Great body control with the football in the air
- Slippery with the football in his hands – great COD
- Good contact balance
- Can be a factor in the offense’s rushing game
- Competes as a blocker, was solid
- Not very big or tall
- Has a lean frame
- Wish he had better deep speed – was tracked down a few times on film
- Could still improve route running technique which would unlock another level of play for someone or Robinson’s attributes
- Had a lot of designed touches that inflated catch percentage numbers
- Doesn’t command catch point in tight areas, could be better as contested-catch receiver
- Wouldn’t say catching is an issue, but he did have 7 drops in 2021, not the most consistent part of his game
- Wish he high pointed the ball more to prevent DBs from making efforts to disrupt
- More of a slot than a boundary receiver
Overall, Wan’Dale Robinson is an explosive slot option who can help in the run game as a ball carrier and as an extension of the run game on designed touches. Robinson also is a deep threat with good separation skills; he had a knack for getting behind defenses and creating explosive plays on deep passing concepts.
He was tracked down a few times after having a “lead,” he’s not the biggest, and he could be a bit better in contested catch situations, but he still has room to grow since his route running was more of a product of his unique athletic ability. Robinson is a high-upside wide receiver who can immediately add juice to an NFL wide receiver room.
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