Carolina Panthers: Can Kenny Robinson make most of NFL chance?

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Kenny Robinson
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Kenny Robinson /
1 of 2
Carolina Panthers, Kenny Robinson #2 of the West Virginia Mountaineers
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) Kenny Robinson /

Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is keen for fifth-round pick Kenny Robinson to prove he is deserving of a second chance in the NFL.

A few eyebrows were raised when the Carolina Panthers selected safety Kenny Robinson with their fifth-round pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. To say the prospect has had a colorful history would be something of an understatement.

He is the first player eligible for the draft that came from the XFL. Robinson had two years of solid production at West Virginia before that and recorded 123 tackles, seven interceptions, and seven pass deflections during his time with the Mountaineers.

Robinson was dismissed from the program for a student code of conduct violation involving academic fraud before the 2019 season. He opted to take his chances in the XFL with the St. Louis Battlehawks and this proved to be a masterstroke in his hopes of entering the pros.

Rhule knows plenty about what Robinson can offer the franchise from his time at Baylor. But the head coach did plenty of research before eventually opting to take a flyer on a player with tremendous upside.

"“We talked to his high school coach. We talked to the Director of Football Operations at West Virginia under the previous staff. We talked to his XFL coaches and to me that was probably the biggest predictor of who he is. He’s out on his own, He’s playing pro football. How is he to coach? How is he to deal with? How is he to live with day in and day out? And they raved about him. He was the only XFL player, I believe, that was draft eligible. Most of them you could just sign. “He’s just got unique ball skills. I’m sure if you were watching the draft like me you could see on ESPN. He’s made plays, and he’s made plays at the pro level now which is really cool. We talked to a lot of people and feel really good about him. I always draw a line, when people start being disrespectful to other people, when they hurt people that’s one thing. Obviously what he did, I don’t even know what he did, academic something or other. We all grow up, we get better, we age, we mature and it sounds like he’s done that.”"

The Panthers have high hopes for Robinson in a position of need. What comes next will be up to the player.