Full Name: Michael Robinson School: Penn State
Position: Running back/multi-purpose
Year: Fifth-year senior
40-yard dash: 4.62 seconds
Biography: Full-time starter the past two seasons at quarterback and receiver. Played running back as a sophomore. Shared Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year honors last season after passing for 2,350 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushing for 806 yards and 11 touchdowns. Robinson - who was used at all three receiver positions (split end, flanker, slot) while also playing quarterback, halfback and punt returner during his 44-game career with the Nittany Lions - was the team's leading receiver as a junior with 33 receptions for 485 yards and three touchdowns. A natural leader, Robinson was one of three team captains at Penn State and was so highly regarded by his teammates that they gave him serious consideration for captaincy during his freshman year. As a quarterback, Robinson's 248 completions rank ninth on Penn State's all-time career list, his 505 pass attempts rank eighth, his 3,531 passing yards rank ninth and his 23 touchdown passes rank 11th. He's the only quarterback in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a career, finishing with 1,637 yards and 20 rushing TDs on 369 carries. Became the fifth player in school history to gain more than 5,000 yards in total offense (5,168), joining Chuck Fusina (5,382), Kerry Collins (5,304), Tony Sacca (5,869) and Zack Mills (7,212). Started a total of 28 games at three different positions - 17 at quarterback, six at halfback and five at receiver. Became the only player in school history to throw and run for more than 1,000 yards in a career, and tied a NCAA record with touchdowns on three consecutive carries during the 2002 season. His 3,156 yards of total offense in 2005 set a school single-season record, and his combined 28 touchdowns were one short of the school record. Played during the 2005 season after needing just three years to graduate in 2004 with a degree in advertising and public relations. Was Academic All-Big Ten three times.
Positives: Is a top-notch athlete with great size, foot quickness explosiveness and playing speed to make big plays. Is a hard-working, athletic prospect who projects to a number of positions at the next level. Has a major-league arm at quarterback, throwing darts or driving passes downfield. Stands in the pocket, finds the open receiver and takes a hit in order to get the ball away. Solid ball carrier who sees the field, follows blocks and runs with an aggressive style. Improvises outside the pocket when plays break down. Displayed adequate hands and route-running skills in the past. In limited opportunities, he has shown good hands and the ability to pluck the ball easily away from his body. He is a dangerous open-field runner and will be able to turn short passes into big plays as a receiver coming out of the backfield. He is a tough football player who has consistently taken hard hits and stayed in the lineup. Is smooth and fluid and can make very sharp cuts - as he gains experience, he will be able to burst out of cuts and get separation from defenders.
Negatives: Average accuracy and pass placement at quarterback. Not averse to throwing into coverage. His only glaring weakness as a NFL prospect, in fact, is that he was primarily a quarterback at Penn State who doesn't project to that position at the next level. He will need to learn the other positions at which the 49ers experiment with him at the highest level possible to be effective.
Analysis: A big, strong player who does whatever necessary to help the team, Robinson's NFL position has yet to be defined, but the 49ers plan to try him first at running back, where he'll have an opportunity to be their third-down back in 2006. He could be used at receiver, running back or even safety. He'll need patience, but will reward the 49ers for being willing to develop his skills. Robinson is definitely athletic and smart enough to make the switch to other positions at the next level, but learning the nuances of a new position in the NFL is extremely difficult.
Niners No. 4 pick: Michael Robinson
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