Allen Robinson became a full-time starter at Penn State as a sophomore in 2012, also Bill O'Brien's first year at the school. As a first year starter, Robinson was productive posting 73 catches, 1,013 yards, and 11 TD's. In his junior year, Robinson's production grew even more, notching 97 receptions for 1,432 yards and putting his name on the map. After he declared, many raved about his unique blend of size (6'3", 203 pounds at pro day, with room to add) and athleticism (42" vertical jump at pro day).
Fit with Jacksonville
While Robinson was the primary recipient of Penn State's Screen Pass game, I expect him to be utilized elsewhere in Jacksonville due to offensive needs and his skill set. I talked about how Jedd Fisch's tendencies for a quick striking pass game aid to Blake Bortles and Marqise Lee strengths, but Robinson adds a whole other dynamic altogether.
He should not be a player that is utilized on screens much, which I will touch on later, rather he should be the primary receiver in terms of quick hitting intermediate passes and red zone pass plays. Robinson offers many similar aspects to his game that Justin Blackmon does, a comp I have been using since the draft.
To me, the selection of Robinson was a clear sign of them replacing Blackmon's production with a similar skill set. I expect Robinson, like Blackmon in the few games he played under Fisch's tenure as offensive coordinator, to see a heavy doses of quick slants, posts, curls, and other routes. With Blackmon, the Jaguars liked to get him the ball over the middle in quick fashion, to let him use his athleticism and strength to gain yards after the catch, which is just how Robinson should be used.
I also expect Robinson to be a heavy factor in the red zone, almost solely because outside of Marcedes Lewis, the Jaguars simply do not have many receiving options that thrive there. Robinson is a 6'3" wide receiver with a 42" vertical, compared to the 5'11" Cecil Shorts, who is inconsistent in the red zone, the 5'11" Marqise Lee, whose skill set does not correlate to being a reliable red zone option, and the 5'7" Ace Sanders, who does not have the stature or strength to be much of an option either.
After review, I think this value was good. I don't see it as a steal, but it's not a reach either. Purely on potential, Robinson's value should be in the range he was picked.
Allen Robinson's Biggest Strengths
Versatile Athleticism and Vision.
The most appealing thing about Robinson is his size and athleticism combo. He has the height and vertical explosion that leads to the ability to make catches like these look routine.
Due to his size and ability to make catches like above, many will peg Robinson as simply a possession receiver, but that could not be further from the truth.
Robinson does not have great long speed, and is not what I would call "twitchy," but thanks to his instincts, vision, balance, and ability to make cuts in space, he can make plays in space and all over the field.
Here is an example of Robinson's great balance for his size, and his awareness and vision.
He is able to cleanly catch the ball, immediately identify where the defender is, make a move to the sideline, and then use his size and balance to break a tackle, all while staying in bounds.
This is another, but more subtle, example of Robinson's awareness.
You can see, just before the quarterback begins his release, that Robinson makes note of the defender in the middle of the field. Robinson adjusts his route and comes back to the football, knowing that without doing so the defender could cut in front of the pass. What looks like a simple reception could have potentially been an interception if not for Robinson's awareness.
Aside from balance and awareness, Robinson uses some pretty impressive ball carrier vision to create yards for himself from all levels of the field.
Here, Robinson is able to cleanly catch the ball and then instantly transition from receiver to runner and get upfield and read his blocks to maximize his yardage.
Robinson is not the type of athlete that is best suited for screens, but his vision more than makes up for it.
Here is an even better example of Robinson gaining more yardage than he really should have.
He sees a heavy traffic of defenders once he starts to get upfield, and despite not being overly elusive or "sudden" he is able to use his vision to elude defenders angles, and gain a first down.
This is an example of Robinson creating yards in space, away from the line of scrimmage and without as much benefit from blocking as he got on the two previous plays.
Robinson is able to time his cuts and read defenders angles to not only get a first down, but also gain 35+ yards -- all on a simple slant.
Route Running Potential
Like most young receivers, Robinson has some ways to go to be considered a near finished product in terms of route running. Too many times he makes unnecessary movements, has bad releases, and tips his routes to defensive backs, but ultimately, I think he has quite a bit of potential as a route runner, something that is not said for most receivers his size.
As seen in some of the GIFs of Robinson above, he is pretty good at cutting and breaking for a receiver of his body type. Here is an example, after a screen, where Robinson has to make a cut that is similar to ones he would have to make on quick inside breaking routes.
Robinson is able to break without slowing down. He's able to sink his hips, maintain control, and explode upfield out of the break, all signs of route running potential.
Aside from being able to make sudden breaks that are necessary for a route runner, Robinson also possesses a skill that most receivers normally do no not possess during college -- double moves. Robinson is, by far, the best receiver from the 2014 draft class in terms of executing double moves, something that makes him a threat against certain defensive backs.
Ultimately, here is my favorite Allen Robinson play from his last two years at PSU. It shows both route running potential and subtle receiver skills that translate to the NFL.
Despite a hop step at the line of scrimmage in his release, which he does frequently and is an issue that needs to be ironed out. Robinson shows burst in his breaks to get inside leverage and separation downfield, patiently tracks the ball and slows down, and then times it and comes back to the ball with burst to separate the defender and the ball and come down with the reception.
Ultimately, Robinson has to learn the nuances of the art of route running, but I find no reason to believe he does not have to tools to become polished in that area down the road.
Allen Robinson's Biggest Weaknesses
No More Screens!
Robinson caught a lot of screens at Penn State last season. He is 6'3", 200 pounds, and has tremendous breaking ability and ball carrier vision. He comes to the Jaguars whose offense is ran by Jedd Fisch, a screen happy offensive coordinator. Seems like a match made in heaven, no?
While I like Robinson's fit with Jacksonville, I really don't see the need to make him a premier receiver in the screen game like he was at PSU. In my opinion, he would he be only the fourth-best receiver on the Jaguars roster in terms of skill sets that correlate to positive screen plays. But he has a few issues that make him simply average on screens, and I think his skill set should be utilized elsewhere.
The reason I believe that is because, while I do consider Robinson a very good athlete for his size, he is not the explosive or sudden athlete that most utilize on screens, like Ace Sanders, Cecil Shorts, and Marqise Lee are. Robinson is a big body, and because of this he struggles to gain enough momentum to break tackles when forced to sit and wait on the ball.
None of the above plays are true screen plays, but they do show Robinson's lack of suddenness and ability to break tackles without momentum.
Robinson offers a lot as a receiver. But ultimately, being involved in the screen passing game is not one of them.
Consistency in Contested Situations
When I talked about his fit, I mentioned Robinson offers something that no other receiver on the roster offers. Because of his size and vertical, Robinson has the looks of a receiver that should dominate in the red zone and in "contested catch" situations.
That is the type of receiver that the Jaguars desperately need. As of right now, I'm not ready to say Robinson can or can not be that kind of receiver, but he has shown flashes to support both sides of the argument.
Robinson has no issues being sent deep and tracking passes with defenders on his back. As long as he is led well, he has the frame and size to prevent the defensive back from having any chance to break up the pass.
He also has flashed strong hands, concentration, and body control with defenders in his sight line -- traits that support the argument that he can develop into a receiver that can thrive in contested situations.
Where Robinson's issues in consistency in these type of plays stem from a few patterns I noticed while reviewing his game.
Here is the most egregious and clear example of what I think Robinson's issues in contested situations is.
Robinson has 4" and over 20 pounds on that cornerback, but still lets himself get pushed around some. However, that isn't my issue, Robinson has the size and strength to handle physical coverage, but that play does so me Robinson's lack of assertiveness in contested situations when forced to respond to physicality.
Robinson has the body and athleticism to be able to easily box that defender out and make a play on the ball, but instead lets himself get redirected and waits on the ball.
Here is another example of Robinson refusing to assert his physical prowess over a smaller defensive back.
Once again, Robinson waits on the ball due to the defender being physical and getting into his path. If Robinson continues to fight for the ball, I fully believe that he scores.
This is another play where Robinson opts to wait on the ball, but this time there is no contact made. Robinson anticipates the contact, thus does not get enough depth in his route, thus does not make the proper adjustment to the ball.
But, this does not all point to Robinson not being able to eventually develop into a receiver that wins in these situations. He has shown he can use his frame and vertical to box out receivers when contested.
As a whole, Robinson has too much inconsistency in this area of his game for me to call it a safe bet for him to develop by a large degree, but he does have traits that point to him being able to do so. There are two directions Robinson can go in this area of his game, but it's too soon to call right now.
The Best Case Scenario for Allen Robinson's Rookie Season
The best case scenario for Robinson's rookie season would be for him to prove himself in the role that the Jags envision for him in the offense, as their primary red zone/Intermediate receiver.
Robinson will have plenty of opportunities to prove himself in pass situations in the red zone, as talked about when discussing his fit, so really he just needs to make the best of those opportunities. I am normally pretty low on expectations for rookie receivers, so for Robinson it'd just be nice to see him get comfortable in his role.
The Worst Case Scenario for Allen Robinson's Rookie Season
The worst case scenario for Robinson's rookie year is for him to not develop by some degree in his consistency in the red zone and with contested catches. Robinson is a 6'3" with a very good vertical and frame, so contested situations are where he should thrive, and where the Jaguars need him the most. He didn't really show the consistency in that area at Penn State, so if he does not develop at least by some degree in that area, it'd be troubling.
Reasonable Expectations for Allen Robinson's Rookie Season
Reasonable expectations for Robinson's rookie year are:
1) I expect him to struggle. He's a rookie receiver with clear issues. It doesn't matter that the Jaguars have one of the league's best receivers coaches, Robinson will, and should, be expected to struggle anyways.
2) I think Robinson will be productive to a degree simply because of the situation he's in. There is no other receiver on the roster that offers what he offers, so he should be given a large amount of opportunities solely because of that. He'll struggle, but he'll also be given many, many opportunities.
Overall Opinion of Pick
I was not extremely high on robinson during the Pre-Draft process, but I can see why so many, including Jerry Sullivan, were. He's very young and coachable, and his size/athleticism is everything you want in a receiver. I am not sold he can become the kind of receiver I think the Jaguars want/need him to be, but his potential is probably higher than any other receiver on the roster.
Quite simply, he is something the Jaguars lack in their stable of skill players, so the pick makes perfect sense, and I have no large issues with it.
Big thanks to Draftbreakdown.com, where you can find all of the film I used for this post, and all of my work.