A-Rob A-OK With Crowded WR Field

Despite plenty of competition, Penn State's record-setting pass-catcher believes he will be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft.

INDIANAPOLIS — Allen Robinson finds himself in a crowded field of talented wide receivers at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“It’s the best wide receiver draft I’ve seen in years,’’ NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said.

Robinson, a 6-foot-2, 220-pounder who opted to bypass his senior year at Penn State to enter the draft in May, is projected as a late first-round pick by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

But Mayock has the first-team All-American wide receiver, who set school records for receptions (97) and yards (1,432) in 2013, going in the second round.

Robinson left no doubt where he thinks he should be selected when he met with reporters late Saturday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“I believe that I’m a first-round draft pick,” he said. “I think that goes for anybody who is in this draft. That’s something that we’re trying to prove right now. Some of the things that people kind of have questions on us about coming into this combine that we train for and prepare for, we’re trying to show that we can do a lot of different things in our game.”

Robinson, who had 147 receptions for 2,445 yards and 17 touchdowns his final two seasons at Penn State, is the sixth-best receiver in the 2014 draft, according to CBSSports.com.

Ranked ahead of him are Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, USC’s Marqise Lee, Florida State’s Kelvin Beachum and LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr.

Robinson’s lack of speed is an issue with some NFL general managers and scouts.

“That’s why we’re here,” Robinson said. “We run routes and do 40s and things like that tomorrow, so I’m pretty excited to get that done.

“I would say I worked on that this offseason up until this point pretty hard to improve my speed, and that’s something that I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Robinson said he has met with 12 teams so far at the combine, including the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts. He doesn’t think the depth at receiver will hurt his draft position.

“That’s not something I can really focus on too much. I’m just going in every day in every workout to improve my game and the depth is what it is. It’s something that’s out of my control,” Robinson said.

“I still felt pretty confident in my decision (to leave school early). I felt it was the best for me at the time — with losing my coach (Bill O’Brien) at Penn State I think that was a big decision for me.

“But I feel comfortable with the decision I made. With the depth of the wide receiver class, I don’t try to focus on that too much. I just focus on trying to improve myself.”

Asked if he would have left school early had O’Brien not left in January to take the head coaching job with the NFL’s Houston Texans, Robinson said: “I’m not really sure.”

He said O’Brien helped him grow in his two seasons as the Nittany Lions’ coach.

“He just challenged me as a player and as a person each and every day to improve my route running and improve my playmaking ability going into the offseason,” Robinson said. “He would give me a list of things to work on and I would try and fine tune that each and every offseason, and that has really helped me a lot (last) fall.”

Robinson’s former position coach at Penn State, Stan Hixon, has tried to help him in this transition. Hixon, who went to the Texans with O’Brien, is a longtime college and NFL receivers coach.

“Yeah, I got some tape of (receivers) Brandon Lloyd, Calvin Johnson and Stevie Johnson from Coach Hixon,” Robinson said. “Just seeing those guys at the next level do different things helped … a variety of things in my game as well.”

Robinson, represented by Eugene Parker, had been working out in Tampa prior to coming to the combine this week.

He is the first player since 1985 to lead the Big Ten in receptions and receiving yardage in consecutive seasons. He was a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award this past season.

“It’s a lot like people compare me to a lot of wide receivers,” Robinson said. “I compare myself to a receiver like Reggie Wayne (of the Colts). We have similar body type, (and are) pretty good route runners as well. That’s who I would compare myself to.”

As for detractors who wonder if he should have left PSU early?

“I try to focus in and not listen to what the people really have to say, outside of my coaches and my family,” Robinson said.

Follow Ron Musselman on Twitter at @ronmusselman8

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