Allen Robinson and Devin Street both have had to deal with the speed issue – or lack thereof – throughout their football careers.
Yet it hasn’t slowed either player down. They have both been very productive.
Robinson, who ran a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash during his workout Sunday at the NFL Scouting Combine, is the first player since 1985 to lead the Big Ten Conference in receptions and receiving yardage in consecutive seasons and he was a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award this past year.
“I compare myself to a receiver like Reggie Wayne (of the Indianapolis Colts),” he said. “We have a similar body type, pretty good route runners as well. That’s who I would compare myself to.
“I try to focus in and not listen to what the people really have to say, outside of my coaches and my family.”
Street, who ran a 4.55 in the 40, was a third-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference pick as a senior for Pitt. He started 40 career games for the Panthers after redshirting as a freshman.
“I’ve been playing football since I was 6 years old,” Street said. “The goal was always to play in the NFL. I can remember watching games as a 15-year-old kid and telling my parents, ‘I’m going to be in the NFL,’ and I said it with conviction, too.
“That’s how I’ve always been. Whenever I say I’m going to do something, I do it. I’m a competitor and I like that type of atmosphere.”
Robinson and Street both find themselves among a crowded field of talented wide receivers at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Robinson, a first-team All-American from Penn State who set school records for receptions (97) and yards (1,432) this past season, opted to bypass his senior year to enter the draft in May.
He is projected as a late first-round pick by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and a second-rounder by the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock.
Robinson, 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, left no doubt where he thinks he should be selected in a draft rich with receivers.
“I believe that I’m a first-round draft pick,” he said at Lucas Oil Stadium. “I think that goes for anybody who is in this draft. That’s something that we’re trying to prove right now.
“Some of the things that people kind of have questions on us about coming into this combine that we train for and prepare for, we’re trying to show that we can do a lot of different things in our game.”
Street. 6-3, 198, finished his career at Pitt as the school’s all-time leading pass catcher with 202 career receptions.
He had 51 receptions for 854 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, when he missed three games with shoulder and elbow injuries.
Street is projected as a mid-round pick by CBSSports.com.
“I am a versatile player,” he said. “I’m quick enough to play on the outside and quick enough to play on the inside.
“I think I’ve just scratched the surface as a wide receiver and I think there’s a lot more left out there. The best years are yet to come in my game.”
Robinson, who had 147 receptions for 2,445 yards and 17 touchdowns his final two seasons at Penn State, is rated the sixth-best receiver in the 2014 draft, according to CBS-
Ranked ahead of him are Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, USC’s Marqise Lee, Florida State’s Kelvin Beachum and LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr.
“That’s not something I can really focus on too much,” he said.
Likewise, Street doesn’t think the depth at receiver will hurt his draft position.
“Actually, it’s good,” he said. “All competition is good. It’s all about what you do in camp. I’m confident in myself and my ability.”
Ron Musselman is a freelance writer who covers the NFL. Follow him on Twitter at @ronmusselman8.