STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Go ahead, underestimate Allen Robinson. He doesn’t care; he’s used to it.
Robinson was a consensus two-star prospect in high school. He caught three passes as a college freshman. And, before his sophomore season, the media focused on players such as Alex Kenney and Shawney Kersey as possible stars.
Everyone, outside of Robinson’s close friends and family, overlooked the skinny kid wearing No. 8. No one foresaw two back-to-back B1G receiver of the year awards or Biletnikoff watch lists. And now, exactly a month before the draft, some analysts have taken to saying he’s not one of the elite wideouts in this draft -- that the junior is maybe a third-round talent.
Robinson hears all the chatter; it just doesn’t bother him. He has been here before.
“My whole life has been sitting around waiting,” he said after Penn State’s Tuesday pro day. “So whatever round I go in, it is what it is. But at the same time, when I get to my team, I’m going to grind and earn my spot.”
The Michigan native, who caught high school passes from four-star recruit Rob Bolden, knows some have criticized his breakaway speed, or lack thereof. (NFL.com’s profile of him lists that as his main weakness.) The concern is he’s too slow to be a productive NFL wideout, that he’s a solid college wideout whose NFL stock dropped considerably since running a 4.6-second 40.
That’s not news to Robinson, but he has made a career out of proving doubters wrong. He centered a lot of his training around improving that 40-yard dash in time for Tuesday’s pro day. And, according to Robinson, scouts approached him afterward and told him he clocked a sub-4.5.
He also finished with a 42-inch vertical, a three-cone time of 6.53 seconds and a broad jump of 10 feet, 11 inches. All of those numbers were improvements from the NFL combine numbers.
“I’ve seen a lot of improvement in myself,” Robinson said. “I feel like I made the best decision I could’ve made [declaring early], and I’m comfortable with that.”
Robinson doesn’t know where he’ll go in the draft. Maybe he’ll surprise the analysts and be picked in the second round, or maybe even the first. But, wherever he goes, he said he wouldn’t be disappointed. And wherever he goes, no one is counting him out this time around.
“Everyone’s dream is to go in the first round, but I can’t control that,” he said. “So wherever I end up going, God has blessed me with being picked by a team. All I can do is stay prepared and ready and, once my name is called, show those guys what I can do and earn my spot on the field.”
Not stressing out: Defensive tackle DaQuan Jones might be the first Penn State player taken in next month’s NFL draft, but he’s trying not to think about that.
“You really don’t know until the draft so, right now, I’m not really stressing about it,” said Jones, who has been projected to go as early as the second round. “All I can do now is take care of my body.”
Jones weighed in at 324 pounds, a six-pound gain since the start of last season, and stood at 6-foot-3. He said teams have approached him as both a 3-4 and 4-3 defensive tackle, and he’s fine with either.
“Everyone’s going to multiple defenses,” he said, “so you’re going to play either/or no matter where you go.”
High risk … high reward?: Tight end-turned-offensive tackle Garry Gilliam was present for pro day, and it’s a good thing he was. A lot of NFL scouts didn’t even know he declared.
“They actually said they didn’t know I was coming out,” said Gilliam, who had one year of eligibility remaining and declared late. “So it was huge to come out here.”
Gilliam probably could have benefited from another season at Penn State. He played only one season as an offensive tackle after bulking up last offseason. But, at 23 years old and with two degrees already, Gilliam felt it was time to move on.
He came in Tuesday at 6-6, 306 pounds and ran a sub-5-second 40. But his upper body strength has teams worried, as he did between 19 and 20 reps on the bench press.
“I think they know I’m a raw player and they need to develop me,” he said, “but I think they’ll take a shot to do it.”
Disrespected: Middle linebacker Glenn Carson didn’t receive an invitation to last month’s NFL combine. And he doesn’t plan to forget that snub anytime soon.
“I definitely came in today with a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “I felt as if I should’ve gotten a combine invite, and that’s why I had to go out there and impress people today.
“I felt like I was a little underappreciated, but all you have to do is put your head down and work. And that’s what I did for these past three months.”
Carson could wind up as a priority free agent, but he’s not expected to be drafted. Still, he felt as if he improved his stock on Tuesday and said several scouts complimented his performance and how he played “smooth.”
“It would be awesome to get drafted,” Carson said.