MOBILE -- Pat White might be a pariah to Dolphins fans, but for one very famous South Florida native, he’s an inspiration.
White, the dual-threat quarterback and former second-round bust for Miami, shared a special moment with Deerfield Beach’s Denard Robinson after Wednesday morning’s Senior Bowl practice.
They embraced, shared a few stories and then posed for a picture, which White promised to make his Twitter avatar.
“That was someone that made me think I could play quarterback in college,” said Robinson, the Michigan man who earlier this month broke White’s NCAA FBS record for career rushing yards by a quarterback (Robinson finished with 4,495).
“That’s an honor for me to meet someone like that.”
Added White, who spent just one season in Miami before getting cut: “His smile made me smile.
Both are in Mobile for the same reason: They want an NFL job. Robinson hopes to prove he can play wide receiver; White, out of football since 2010, just wants someone to give him one last shot.
No doubt, there’s a place for Robinson in the league. He’ll be taken somewhere in April’s draft — perhaps as high as the second round.
But it won’t be easy. He’s trying out a new position — receiver — against some of the best NFL-bound defensive backs in the nation. Robinson sustained an elbow injury midway through his senior season, limiting his ability to throw the ball.
Still, he played, lining up at quarterback, tailback and, yes, receiver. Now he’s trying his hand at the latter on a full-time basis, and he was impressive in his first true practice of the week Wednesday.
“I think everything happens for a reason,” said Robinson, who caught three passes for 31 yards in 2012. “I think it kind of blessed me that it happened. I was in an unfortunate situation. But I can run a little bit, I’m quick enough to play receiver. I took it and ran with it.”
Indeed, if there was nothing more to playing receiver than pure speed, Robinson would be a first-round pick.
The first time Greg Robinson, Michigan’s former defensive coordinator, laid eyes on Robinson, he was dusting the competition in an indoor track meet against Ohio State.
“Right then I was like, ‘Ooooh, OK,’ ” Greg Robinson said Wednesday. “He’s so gifted, so gifted in so many ways.
“He’s got to get a skill down other than quarterback,” Robinson continued. “He’s got to learn how to run his routes. He will.”
If so, he might have as much upside as anyone in the draft.
A scout for an AFC team said the wide receiver class — which includes Baylor’s Terrance Williams, a possibility for the Dolphins with the 12th overall pick and another Senior Bowl participant — is solid, but not spectacular.
“I just don’t know if there’s going to be an upper-tier, top-five, upper-echelon receiver in this draft,” the scout said.
As for Denard Robinson, the source said: “With projects like that, you never know. You could hit big. It all depends on the kid, his character, makeup, how good he wants to be, how good he is with details, how much he wants to improve his route-running, catching the ball.”
Robinson appears committed to doing just that. He met this week with Dolphins scouts, and plans to attend the team’s workout for local prospects, which is usually held in early April.
“Playing close to home would be a dream come true,” Robinson said. “But whoever drafts me, it would still be a dream come true. That’s the opportunity to play in the NFL.”
• Dolphins assistant Dave Fipp — a favorite of coach Joe Philbin — has been hired by the Eagles to run their special teams.
• University of Miami running back Mike James practiced for the first time at the Senior Bowl on Wednesday after being an injury replacement to the game.
When asked what he wanted to prove this week, James said: “That I’m a tough player, I’m a top back, and I can do anything else any other back in the country can do.”