Kenny Robinson’s colorful path to the Panthers will serve him well

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Kenny Robinson
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Kenny Robinson /

Kenny Robinson was a fifth-round pick that has a colorful story before arriving with the Carolina Panthers, and this is something the safety can use to his advantage.

The Carolina Panthers take the field in 27 days’ time with a brand-new roster and a coaching staff that is lacking any real experience in the NFL. This means things could go either way for the organization in 2020. And how much momentum they can generate during training camp remains to be seen.

New head coach Matt Rhule wasted no time in making his presence felt. The Carolina Panthers let some established veterans depart in free agency. And their insistence to go younger was further reflected with an all-defense 2020 NFL Draft class that was a league first.

A number of those selected will be expected to slot in and make an instant contribution. This is bound to come with its fair share of growing pains. But there is one incoming prospect that has been part of a professional team before.

Continuing our countdown feature ahead of the new season, we now turn our attention to Carolina’s No. 27. Kenny Robinson was taken in the fifth round in 2020. And the safety has plenty going for him as he looks to forge a successful career in the NFL.

To say Robinson’s path to the next level was a colorful one would be something of an understatement. His time at West Virginia was brought to a premature halt when he was expelled for a student code of conduct violation involving academic fraud.

This meant he was unable to participate in a crucial 2019 campaign. But it was evident that Robinson’s confidence in his own ability was enough to hear his name called on draft weekend.

"“I never lost faith in myself. I always felt in my whole life that I would be an NFL talent. I never gave up on that dream. I always felt like I was going to get there, it was just going to be when I got there.”"

Kenny Robinson comes to the Carolina Panthers on a high.

Robinson eventually decided to take his chances in the XFL last season. This was a masterstroke. And it proved he is more than capable of handling the pressures of a professional environment.

Although the NFL is a completely different ball game. This experience will do Robinson wonders as he looks to make his presence felt in Carolina next season.

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There is not a lot of expectations for the player to make an instant impact. The Panthers have Tre Boston and Juston Burris as their projected starters. And they also have a potentially dynamic defensive weapon in Jeremy Chinn who specializes at the safety spot.

Robinson will be allowed to develop his impressive skillset at his own pace. And there is real potential for the rookie to become an integral part of the special teams’ unit.

It has been a rocky road to the Panthers for Robinson. But he does have something that most rookies do not at this stage. And this is an ability to perform against players far older than him.

The XFL overall was a better standard than expected before it disbanded. And this was reflected in the number of players picked up by NFL teams during the offseason period.

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Robinson is athletic, possesses tremendous football instincts, and is hungry to thrive. There is plenty of hard work still to come. But it is hard not to be impressed by the player’s resolve to get to this point.