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Wan'Dale Robinson
NFL Draft

Wan’Dale Robinson: NFL Draft Prospect Interview

  • Justin Melo
  • March 22, 2022
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NFL franchises love drafting do-it-all versatile offensive weapons that can wear multiple hats while lining up at several positions. Kentucky’s Wan’Dale Robinson is that kind of player.

The electric Robinson is a threat to reach the end zone every time he gets the ball in his hands. Kentucky’s offense was well-designed and suited to Robinson’s skill set. The former Nebraska transfer enjoyed a fruitful 2021 campaign by recording a career-high 1,334 receiving yards in his lone season as a Wildcat. Robinson projects as an exciting weapon at the next level.

Robinson recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about his combine performance and experience, the decision to transfer to Kentucky, his favorite routes to run, his well-rounded skill set, and so much more.

JM: You made the decision to transfer from Nebraska to Kentucky ahead of the 2021 season and it proved to be an excellent decision. You essentially accounted for 1,000 more receiving yards (1,334) when compared to your previous high at Nebraska (461). How do you look back on the transfer?

WR: I feel like it was the best decision for me at the end of the day both from a family and football standpoint. My mom unfortunately caught COVID-19 in 2020 so that gave me a big reason to explore options closer to home. Once coach Liam Coen became the offensive coordinator at Kentucky, it quickly became a perfect marriage for me within the structure of his offense.

JM: Offensive coordinator Liam Coen clearly understood how to best utilize your skill set and he has now become the Los Angeles Rams’ offensive coordinator. What was it like to play for coach Coen, and how do you feel about the way he used you in his offense?

WR: I love coach Coen. He began recruiting me as soon as he got the job in Kentucky. He described his plans for me within his offense and he laid them out very clearly on the table. He did exactly what he said he was going to do. He’s a man and coach of his word. He’s an excellent coach.

He’s one of the smartest coaches I’ve ever been around. He literally understands how to coach every single position on the field. We’d spend time together in the meeting room with the entire offense and he’s in there coaching everybody up. He never focused on just one specific group. Things like that make him an excellent, unique coach.

JM: He’s a brilliant, innovative offensive mind. You lined up all over the field for the Wildcats in 2021. How will that experience serve you well at the next level?

WR: It prepared me to do a lot of different things at the next level. I can do it all offensively. That’s exactly what I bring to the table. I’m an extremely versatile guy at the end of the day. I can do just about anything you need me to do on the offensive side of the ball. I can line up in the backfield, or I can route routes as a traditional receiver. You can get creative with me. I can catch and handle jet-sweeps. I can catch screens and do damage after the catch. I can do everything really.

JM: You recently participated in the NFL Scouting Combine, and you ran a strong 40-yard dash time of 4.44 seconds. What was the experience overall like?

WR: It was a good experience overall. The combine is the combine at the end of the day. It was a lot of fun. It gave me a chance to get in front of the teams. I spent time with the best prospects all over the country. It gave me a chance to introduce myself to a lot of different coaches and general managers. I feel like it went really well for me.

JM: Do you have a favorite route to run as a receiver?

WR: I’d probably have to say the option route. The “option” is to not be covered (laughs). You have a three-way go and you can break inside or outside. You can sit down against zone coverage. There are just so many different ways you can run the option route. You can get creative and change the pace up. I can do so many different things with an option route. It’s a very effective route for me.

JM: As a route-runner, tell me a little more about how you create separation within your release packages.

WR: You have to figure out the leverages and things of that nature. The concepts and timing of our routes were an extremely important detail within the makeup of our offense. Obviously, a lot of that stuff was sorted out as we game-planned for our next opponent throughout the week. We had to get on the same page as the quarterback first and foremost. You have to figure out exactly how a defensive back is playing you. That’s really how I go into it personally.

JM: That’s terrific. At 5-foot-8 and 178 pounds, I’m sure you’ve heard the term “undersized” your entire life. You’re probably used to people counting you out and you’ve proven them wrong every step of the way. How do you typically respond to that label?

WR: At the end of the day, you said it best. I’ve heard it my entire life. Nothing’s changed about that. I’ve been making plays my whole life. I’ve always been the smallest player on the field. This is nothing new to me. At the end of the day, I feel like I’m always going to be the most explosive player on the field. I’m gonna continue making plays at a high level.

JM: Your explosion gives you an upper hand. You also have some experience playing on special teams. Do you see yourself returning kicks and punts at the next level?

WR: Yeah, I definitely do. As I’ve been speaking with teams, that’s obviously a topic that’s been brought up in the meeting room with me. Teams can envision me playing a big role on special teams for them. I know that’s something I’m going to have to do more of at the next level. I plan to play more special teams in the NFL than I did in college. It comes with the territory.

JM: You possess the traits necessary to become an explosive returner. I’ve really appreciated your time today. In closing, why should a team use one of their draft picks on Wan’Dale Robinson?

WR: I feel like I’m the most versatile guy in this draft. I can line up both inside and outside. I have experience playing running back. I’ve run inside and outside zone concepts. I’ve had to make the protection calls and things of that nature. Whatever you need me to do in your offense, I can do that. I can handle a gadget role and I can be a complete receiver as well. I feel like I’m that guy.

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Justin Melo