ORLANDO -- Josh Robinson will hope for the best but prepare for the worst when the 2012 NFL Draft begins 8 p.m. Thursday night.
The former UCF cornerback is projected to be taken anywhere from the late first round to the third round.
To most players, a discrepancy that large and the thought of falling multiple rounds would fill them with pre-draft jitters. But Robinson said he is calm, even excited, as the draft approaches.
"That's what I'm hearing, but I have to prepare my mind for anything worse or anything better," Robinson said. "I'm more so anxious. Not really nervous, just anxious to found out where I'm going to be and just ready to get to work."
Robinson (5-10, 199) has taken an optimistic approach since he declared for the draft in January following his junior season at UCF. The positive attitude has helped him stay confident and humble during the ups and downs of the draft process.
When Robinson first announced he was leaving school early, there was some skepticism from the UCF community on whether he made the right decision. He started 36 games in three years with the Knights and was a first team Conference USA selection in 2010 and 2011, but was he physically prepared to go up against seasoned NFL receivers?
"My mindset was that I was ready. I was ready to go to this next level and start working," said Robinson, who added that he tried to focus only on positive comments during that time. "…I felt [there were] a lot of benefits along with leaving early. Of course there are pros and cons with everything, but I felt the pros outweighed the cons."
By February, it appeared that Robinson made the right choice when he ran a blistering 4.33 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, the fastest time of any player in attendance. Originally considered to be a third-day pick (fourth-seventh round), Robinson shot up draft boards with his combine performance.
"That really propelled me as far as my stock value in this draft," Robinson said. "That was something I was really relying on. I was really relying on that for people to go back and look at film. I know I can't really change what I have on film, but that was my avenue to get people to check me out more."
Robinson is pegged by many draft publications as a second round pick because of his speed, zone coverage ability, willingness to tackle and special teams experience. He even has a chance to go in the first round after the first tier of cornerbacks (LSU's Morris Claiborne, South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore and Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick) are taken.
If that happens, he will be only the second player in school history to be selected in the first round. Quarterback Daunte Culpepper was the first, going to Minnesota with the 11th overall pick in 1999.
"It ran through my mind and it would just be a great accomplishment," Robinson said.
Soft-spoken and modest, Robinson will fittingly keep things low-key during the draft by holding a gathering for his congregation Friday night at the same church in South Florida where he announced his commitment to the Knights as a high school senior.
"I always try to keep it close to family and bring people closer to where God is," Robinson said. "It's just something I'm enjoying. It's a dream come true and you just try to enjoy it. It's a long process and there's little what you can control…The whole process is just exciting, regardless of where I go or when I go."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun