As a former UCF Knight cornerback I may be a little (and by a little I mean a lot) biased on the fact that I'm more excited than Plaxico Burress at a gun show about the show Josh Robinson, the corner from UCF is putting on at this year's combine. Johnson, a three year starting corner is also a special teams/return specialist standout who chose to skip his Sr year and declare for the NFL draft after UCF's 2011 season.Robinson as a punt returner was ninth in the nation with over a 15 yard average while recording 59 tackles, two ints, 13 pass breakups, shared a half-sack, and one fumble recovery for a touchdown in his sophomore season. As a Junior Robinson was forced to focus more on corner and less on returning. He only returned 7 punt returns and 4 kickoffs that season but I'm sure he's still very much still capable. In his Jr season of 2011 Robinson recorded 48 tackles, 15 passes defended, and two ints (with one being returned for a TD.
CBSSports.com gives the following overview of Robinson:
Despite being recruited by the likes of Clemson, Michigan and Auburn, Robinson elected to stay close to home and signed with Central Florida. He quickly established himself as a star at this level, emerging as a starter early in his true freshman season (starting 11 games and playing in all 13 contests in 2009) and leading the team with six interceptions, earning Second Team All Conference USA accolades. Robinson piqued the interest of scouts immediately by enjoying some of his most impressive performances of the season against top competition, including a six tackle, one interception performance against Texas.
Robinson proved that his true freshman campaign was no fluke a year later, earning First Team honors despite seeing his interception total drop to just two. Robinson proved his all-around game by recording 59 tackles, breaking up 13 passes and returning a fumble 56 yards for a touchdowns against Alabama-Birmingham. Robinson again proved his ability to step up his level of play against out of conference foes, recording three tackles and three passes broken up against Kansas State and limiting Georgia's A.J. Green to 77 yards and no touchdowns in a stunning 10-6 upset victory in the Liberty Bowl.
Robinson again earned First Team All-CUSA honors following the 2011 season (48 tackles, a career high 15 passes broken up, two interceptions including one returned for a touchdown), prompting him to leave the Knights early for the NFL. Robinson's quick feet, fluidity in coverage and impressive ball skills made him a virtual man among boys in Conference USA. The jump to the NFL is a steep one but if Robinson can prove his speed, the skill set is there to warrant a top 75 pick.
POSITIVES: Possesses legitimate NFL cover skills. Has a quick, low backpedal with a fluid hip turn to cover receivers down the field. Has at least adequate straight-line speed and good balance, fluidity to change directions. Alert defender for zone coverage, showing good understanding of route progressions occuring behind him and a quick burst downhill to break on underneath passes in front of him. Very good hand-eye coordination and timing to knock passes away as the receiver attempts to secure the catch. Highly competitive. Raised his level of play against top competition. Emerged as a standout punt returner in 2010, earning honorable mention accolades by averaging 15.2 yards per return (ninth in the country) as a sophomore, though he did not return a punt for score over his career. Played in all 38 games of his UCF career and has had no known injuries.
NEGATIVES: Possesses only average height for the position. A bit high in his backpedal. Too often allows a free release to the receiver when in man-press coverage. Gets his hands on a lot of football but needs to do a better job of turning interception opportunities into actual interceptions, recording 10 despite breaking up 36 passes over his career. Struggled with fumbles as a punt returner his freshman year, raising concerns about his ability to contribute in this role at the NFL level.
Robinson as it stands has turned a few heads running the fastest 40 of all the corners currently at 4.31 and tied for 11th best in the bench press with 17 reps. I have played under the staff at UCF and will say with confidence that things like his higher backpedal and man to man reads can be taught (I lack confidence in the ucf coaching staff). I believe that everything that Robinson did at ucf was purely due to his own special ability and would be proud to have him as a Jag.
It has been said that Robinson struggles in man to man defense by a few analyst. The UCF coaching staff "teaches" an old school three step read man to man technique for their defensive backs. While the technique in itself is wonderful (as I learned after being taught it correctly after transferring) I believe that the majority of Robinson's man to man struggles can be corrected by NFL caliber coaching.
He's currently projected as a 5th round projection, likely to drop to a lower 4 when everything's said and done. Depending on what we do in the earlier rounds and free agency I'd most definitely take him......then again, I'm biased.