Give Nate Robinson a shot to make an NFL team

If Nate Robinson was around during my tenure with the Cowboys, we’d have brought him into training camp.

Robinson said Monday that he might give the NFL a shot during the NBA lockout, and I think he probably could pull it off.

As the son of Jacque Robinson, a former running back for the Eagles, Nate was a two-sport athlete at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle (see highlights above), and his name came up multiple times when he played at the University of Washington. I think at the time he didn’t have the desire to play football, but he was a very good cornerback in his one season with the Huskies.

I thought Nate was an excellent athlete with exceptional quickness. When you add those traits together, you have a guy who can play in the NFL.

What makes Nate’s situation so perfect is not only the fact that he’s an exceptional athlete, but the dynamics of today’s camps — with 90 players allowed on a roster — allow for a team to take a chance on a proven athlete like him. Because of the NBA lockout, Nate isn’t under contract. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to do it.

At 5-foot-9, Robinson’s height isn’t ideal because he’d lose some jump balls. Everybody says, “Well, he’s got a 43-inch vertical.” But don’t forget, some wide receivers have 40-inch verticals. But Robinson, who played for the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, is a well-built guy who gets from one end of the floor to another in no time at all. He has amazing quickness. Those skills alone should get him into an NFL camp.

When I was with the Cowboys, I always used to suggest a few offbeat guys, and we brought in a guy by the name of Cornell Green, who had been a basketball player at Utah State. He was drafted by the Chicago Zephyrs, who later moved to Baltimore. Even though Green never played college football, we signed him as a free agent, and he went on to become a five-time Pro Bowl defensive back and played for us for 13 years. Today, he’s a scout for the Broncos.

If I were a team that needed a corner, I’d sure as hell give Robinson a call. His NBA salary probably is a heck of a lot more than an NFL team would be willing to pay him. I don’t know if anybody would be willing to give him more than a minimum contract, and he likely wouldn’t receive any sort of signing bonus. Then if he wins a job, obviously he’d be rewarded.

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