Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky WR | NFL Draft Scouting Report

After a breakout 2021 season, does Kentucky WR Wan'Dale Robinson have a strong enough NFL Draft scouting report to make the leap?

The NFL is a league of playmakers. You make plays, you’re in. You don’t, you’re out. It really is that simple. Scouting is much more detail-oriented, but players who make plays at the college level have no trouble getting noticed. Kentucky WR Wan’Dale Robinson is one of those players, and with his NFL Draft scouting report, he’s sure to get a chance to keep it going at the next level.

Wan’Dale Robinson NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Wide receiver
  • School: Kentucky
  • Current Year: Junior
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 185 pounds

Wan’Dale Robinson Scouting Report

There’s a heightened emphasis on scheme in the modern NFL, but there’s no replacement for players who can create for themselves. There are multiple molds of WRs in this sense, but all receivers who can create — in some way or another — are coveted at the NFL level. Robinson has quickly proven that he belongs in this category.

A transfer from Nebraska, Robinson has seen his statistical output — and his stock — skyrocket in the 2021 season. Catching passes from QB Will Levis, Robinson has seen a drastic uptick in opportunities, and he’s made the most of it. Now, as the 2022 NFL Draft approaches, it’s time to ask this question: Is Robinson ready for the NFL stage?

Wan’Dale Robinson’s athletic profile

Quickly, Robinson’s dynamic ability shows up on tape — and it all stems from his athleticism. The Kentucky WR is an amped-up athlete with a skill set that’s conducive to pure creation. Robinson is incredibly explosive in the open field. He accelerates quickly and elongates space, and has the speed to turn the corner and get outside on schemed touches.

Even more than his explosiveness, however, Robinson has elite agility as a runner. He’s a shifty ball carrier who runs with his hips on a swivel. He leans into and out of cuts with ease and stacks moves in rapid succession. He can also set up cuts with a brutal roll step, then transfer his weight in the blink of an eye. Robinson features a smooth and deadly brand of shiftiness in congested areas.

Moreover, Robinson stores a ton of potential energy within his frame. He can stop, start, and explode with rare suddenness. His twitch shows up both as a runner and a receiver. He can set up releases with his effervescent twitch and get defensive backs off-balance with his sheer energy as a player. Beyond that, Robinson has the vertical athleticism to leap for tough grabs and snare passes in midair — giving him some potential as a complete WR.

Execution beyond the physical traits

Robinson’s brand of athleticism is supremely exciting, but even more exciting is how he uses it. He uses his loose hips to levy cuts in the open field and manipulates tackling angles. His experience as an RB shows up consistently. The Kentucky WR is a creative ball carrier who knows how to use leverage. He’s very instinctive in the open field, and he uses his full-field vision to disrupt angles and extend plays.

To that end, Robinson also applies his athleticism as a receiver, and his instincts show up there as well. He can generate displacement early in reps. He’s able to sink his hips into his releases and explode off the line with crisp footwork. Farther down the field, he flashes an understanding of route leverage. Robinson sets himself up against defensive backs, and he can pinch impressive angles as a route runner with his ability to plant and go.

Going further, Robinson flashes excellent twitch as a route runner. He can burst out of breaks with rare quickness and use measured physicality to fight through tight coverage and peel into space. At the catch point, Robinson also shows some promise. He effectively tracks the ball in the air and can control and contort — not only to follow the ball, but also to minimize contact.

Among other things, Robinson has some measured contact balance. He’s more dense than he appears to be. Additionally, he’s a solid run blocker for his size. He squares up defenders well and is willing to fight on blocks.

Areas for Improvement

Robinson is an exciting NFL Draft prospect, but there are some limitations in his profile. Most notably, Robinson is just 5’11”, 185 pounds, and he’s likely to measure in shorter than his listed height. His shorter arms limit his catch radius in contested situations, and they can also impact his ability to play bigger CBs. He can get tied up against longer defenders, negating separation, and can also be re-routed in press.

Going further, the Kentucky WR still has room to maximize his route-running ability. He can utilize more deception at times. Robinson doesn’t always sink his hips to full capacity or utilize head fakes at the stem. He’ll need to add more consistent detail at the NFL level, as he’s often simply schemed into space. As a result, his route tree isn’t fully developed yet. He can execute posts, curls, and crossers, but there’s still room to add more.

While Robinson has a short-striding, energetic running style, he might not have elite breakaway speed. He can stretch the field, but there are a few instances of him getting caught from behind. Thus, his 40-yard dash might be in the mid-to-high 4.4s.

Additionally, Robinson can’t always secure passes through contact. While he’s a willing blocker with good leverage, his size does limit his ability to sustain blocks at times.

Wan’Dale Robinson’s 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview

Creation capacity is becoming increasingly important for NFL receivers. Thus, a player like Robinson is likely to get heightened interest in the draft cycle. Although he’s on the small side, Robinson is one of the most dynamic players in the 2022 NFL Draft with the ball in his hands.

With his shiftiness, explosiveness, and instincts in open space, Robinson consistently generates big plays. But beyond that, Robinson also has utility as a pass catcher.

He has some traits that are conducive to successful route running, with the speed and burst to be an effective deep threat. And he’s flashed ball-tracking ability and body control at the catch point.

Robinson is a tough competitor, and he’s exceedingly versatile, too. His best fit is probably as a slot receiver, but Robinson can line up anywhere, and he thrives in motion. My advice? Get the ball in his hands, and reap the rewards. Robinson is an easy Day 2 prospect, with the high-level creative capacity to be a dynamic chess piece in the NFL.

Wan’Dale Robinson’s Player Profile

Robinson has always been a player with promise. It took time for him to fully emerge in the right situation, but there’s never been any doubt as to the talent he holds.

Robinson was a top-250 prospect in the nation in the 2019 recruiting class. A versatile athlete, Robinson starred at running back, receiver, and defensive back at Western Hills High School in Frankfurt, Kentucky. In fact, Robinson could’ve honestly had a future at defensive back if he wanted to. He had 9 career picks, 16 deflections, and 10 forced fumbles. Even so, Robinson’s brightest moments always came on offense.

Robinson was a dominant playmaker for Western Hills. He amassed 8,500 total yards of offense and 130 total scores over his four-year varsity career, and ran for over 2,000 yards in two seasons. As a senior, Robinson carried the ball 206 times for 1,973 yards and 30 touchdowns. He also caught 31 passes for 725 yards and 11 touchdowns.

A four-star recruit, Robinson signed with Nebraska, and played for the Cornhuskers in 2019 and 2020. Over that two-year span, he caught 91 passes for 914 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns, while also logging 134 carries for 580 yards and 4 scores. But after two years away, Robinson knew — it was time to come home.

Robinson’s career at Kentucky and NFL Draft ascension

After his sophomore season, Robinson transferred back to his home state of Kentucky, joining Mark Stoops and the Kentucky Wildcats program. Robinson transferred to Kentucky along with Penn State QB Will Levis. Both were joined by new offensive coordinator Liam Coen — who’d been an assistant for the Los Angeles Rams since 2018.

Heading into the college football season, excitement was building around the Wildcats’ offense at Kroger Field. And somehow, Robinson has exceeded the high expectations that came with his return.

In 12 games, with only a bowl game to go, Robinson has amassed 94 catches for 1,164 yards and 7 scores — while also adding 7 carries for 111 yards.

The Levis-to-Robinson connection has been a match made in heaven, but it’s clear that the Wildcats’ offense isn’t the same without the electric Kentucky WR. Robinson has returned to his dominant form. And in doing so, he’s firmly established himself as a strong 2022 NFL Draft prospect.

Tony Pauline’s scouting report for Wan’Dale Robinson

Positives: Explosive receiver who shows exceptional skill after the catch. Possesses tremendous quickness in his game as well as a burst of speed. Instinctive and has great field vision. Extends his hands to make the reception away from his frame, immediately turns it upfield, and consistently creates yardage after the catch.

Possesses outstanding footwork, makes defenders miss when the ball is in his hands, and handles the football like a creative running back. Keeps the play in bounds, does not go down without a fight, and plays big football despite his size. Comes back to the ball to make himself an available target, uses his frame to protect the pass, and adjusts to errant throws.

Runs sharp routes, uses the sidelines well, and tracks the ball in the air. Gets vertical and shows great eye/hand coordination.

Negatives: Really doesn’t play to his timed speed. Easily brought down at the point of attack. Lack of height is a limiting factor.

Analysis: Robinson is a legitimate playmaking receiver with return possibilities. He’s not a wideout for every team due to his size. But a creative offensive coordinator who drafts Robinson will line him up in the slot, ask him to run reverses, and make use of his quickness and ability to create yardage.

Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and follow him on Twitter: @IC_Draft.

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