Oct 27, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson (87) catches a touchdown pass against Minnesota Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson (21) during the first quarter at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
It happens every year. Some cornerback or wide receiver you never heard of runs a crazy-fast forty and people start going bananas for him.
This year it’s Justin Gilbert. The Oklahoma State corner ran a 4.35 and now…he’s shooting up draft boards.
“Is Justin Gilbert a first round pick?” the internet is asking.
Same story every year. Like 2012. When Josh Robinson was the guy everyone was talking about.
Not just talking about, gushing about.
Robinson was considered a marginal prospect going into the combine. Then he ran an absurd 4.31 in the forty. Suddenly he was potential first round material.
No seriously, THAT Josh Robinson.
A real headline from PFT on March 6, 2012: “Josh Robinson, Combine’s fastest man, looks like a first-round pick.”
A real quote from Mike Mayock contained in the PFT story:
He’s a 200-pound corner with long arms who ran a 4.3 at the Combine, and on top of the 4.3, he tested at the highest level in every measurable. That’s what the Combine’s for. We go back to the tape and see if it’s really 4.3 speed. I went back and watched two more tapes of him against Southern Miss and BYU, and the only criticism is that he goes flat-footed at the transition point. I know that because I used to do that. And what happens is when you go flat-footed trying to come out of that transition on a vertical is difficult. When you look at his numbers, 10 interceptions in three years, he will tackle, great transition out of pedal, driving on the football, I don’t think there’s any way this kid is getting out of the first round.
Turns out, Robinson did get out of the first round. And the second. The Vikings took him in the third.
His size worked against him. So did his lack of technical polish. I remember reading about his lack of technical polish well before the draft.
How did these two factors manage to escape the notice of draft expert Mike Mayock?
Heading into year three, it now looks like Robinson was over drafted in the third round.
He was bad in 2012, but I guess you could chalk that up to inexperience. He was flat out brutal in 2013 but I guess you could chalk some of that up to the Vikings trying to play him at slot corner when he is clearly not suited to that position.
Any way you chalk it up, Robinson has been a disappointment as a third round pick. He is now barely mentioned when people discuss the Vikings’ secondary.
Since his big moment at the combine, Robinson has gone from Mayock-certified slam dunk first round pick to afterthought.
So, before you go falling in love with Justin Gilbert, just keep Josh Robinson in mind. A great combine sometimes matters. And sometimes it doesn’t.
Mike Mayock is sometimes right, and he is sometimes hilariously wrong.