Kenny Robinson turned to the XFL to help his mom. Now he’s eyeing the NFL Draft

first_img (XFL / BattleHawks) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/6c/8c/kenny-robinson-xfl_bfa07l9bj1dd1hav1feh17djs.png?t=-904393592&w=500&quality=80 Robinson says he hasn’t talked with his agent much about the draft process yet. He was focused on the season and trying to help his team win. But with the season over early, it’s now time for Robinson to prepare himself for the potential next level.”I think there’s a wide range of draft outcomes for Robinson,” Hasan told SN. “I think he’s certainly better than a number of those [NFL Combine] participants, but not enough to push for a top 100 pick. I could see him selected nearly anywhere on Day 3, particularly in the sixth round — though it would not surprise me to see him go a round earlier or completely undrafted, though I would be shocked if he wasn’t a priority free agent commanding more than UDFA minimum.”He should be drafted, but it’s always difficult to tell with the Day 3 pool, especially given his unique circumstances.”Go up and GET it young [email protected]__ pulls in his his first XFL interception.📺 @espn🖥 https://t.co/qZVDJBytZi pic.twitter.com/GSv2bCdsCy— XFL (@xfl2020) February 23, 2020Robinson admitted he could’ve played better in the XFL, but adds that’s all part of the process. He says the biggest difference between playing in college and the XFL was the speed. If he is drafted or signed by an NFL team, it could be a significant path for other athletes who are put in a similar situation as Robinson. XFL commissioner Oliver Luck, who was once West Virginia’s athletic director, has been watching Robinson closely. And he says Robinson is a player he’s rooting for.”I’ve got a lot of respect for Kenny because he basically said, ‘I can improve myself. I can become a better football player by playing in the XFL,'” Luck told Sporting News. “In a sense, he bet on himself.””I was always taught to bet on myself and I always believe in myself,” Robinson agreed. The safety also feels like his bet paid off, as he played well in the first half of the XFL season before it was canceled due to coronavirus concerns. He shined with an interception in Week 3, and had another strong performance in Week 5 as he was nominated for the XFL’s Star of the Week with one interception and a [email protected]__ had his second interception of the year as well as a sack pic.twitter.com/HLC0qfApDu— XFL (@xfl2020) March 10, 2020″Kenny Robinson has a lot of natural talent,” said Arif Hasan, who writes about the XFL and NFL Draft for The Athletic. “He has natural receiving skills when he goes up to get the ball, from positioning to hands technique. His speed/strength profile is above average for the position and his natural athleticism, take-on skills and coverage instincts should allow him to play in either the box or as a free safety.”In Week 4, Robinson was playing professional football while his former teammates and colleagues were running drills for the NFL Combine. Since the XFL schedule made it difficult for Robinson to truly prepare for the NFL Draft like every other prospect, he had to showcase his skill set in another way.”He’s using this XFL season as his personal combine,” Luck said to SN about Robinson. “Instead of going to the combine in Indianapolis and doing the various drills, he thinks this makes more sense for him and his situation and I think he’s absolutely right.”Robinson admitted “it’s kind of weird” to not be with the other NFL Draft prospects because he feels like he “should be with them right now.” But Robinson is trying to make the best of it by performing on the field. In January he was accepted into the NFL Draft pool, and that’s ultimately where he hopes to play. Editor’s note: These interviews were prior to the cancellation of the XFL season.Kenny Robinson’s favorite part about playing in the XFL was simply the fact he got to play at all. “A lot of people who are in a similar situation as me, they haven’t had a way to get to where they really want to go because of all the regulations,” Robinson said, referring to the NCAA. “Me being the first person I feel like I can be a trailblazer, and give everyone else an opportunity.”Luck believes the potential for others is there as well.”We’ll see if it becomes more common,” Luck told SN. “I think there are always a number of college players who for whatever reason are declared ineligible, could be academics, could be personal behavior, personal conduct issue, guys that might just drop out of school. Certainly that’s at least now an option.” (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/6/c6/kenny-robinson-battlehawks-ftr_7z6u1mx0qljo1uy7qwylpqjz7.png?t=-902838984&w=500&quality=80 “Being kicked out of school and not knowing when I was going to have the opportunity to play again … I just enjoy the experience as a whole,” Robinson told Sporting News.Robinson was a promising safety at West Virginia, where he earned All-Big 12 first team honors as a sophomore. But before he could improve in his junior season, he was kicked out of school after a student code of conduct violation involving academic fraud. The 20-year-old Robinson then had a decision to make. He initially entered the NCAA transfer portal, but transfers need to be in good academic standing in order to be eligible at their new schools. So that meant he’d likely have to sit out a year if he wanted to play college football.About two weeks after West Virginia forced him to leave, Robinson realized the XFL was an opportunity for him. “It was kind of difficult because my mom, she wanted me to go back to school right away,” Robinson told SN about his decision. “But in my eyes, I felt like she needed help, and my family needed help, so I was going back and forth with that a lot. But I feel like I ended up making the best decision.”Robinson decided to play in the XFL, becoming the first player with college eligibility remaining to join the new league. Robinson’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, and he says that ultimately is what made him want to go pro rather than return to college for his junior season.“The deciding factor was my family,” Robinson said. “It felt like the best choice for me was to take care of her and make sure everything was okay.” last_img read more