Although the Jaguars have only played in three games thus far this season, one of its bright spots has continued to shine throughout the year.
Undrafted rookie running back James Robinson has steadily become the team’s featured running back, and improved his stock on Thursday by boasting his receiving ability. Robinson originally signed with the team immediately following the draft this year, and was subsequently one of the team’s best running backs throughout training camp.
After a thorough evaluation and a cleaning of the roster, the Jaguars decided to move on from former No. 4 overall selection, Leonard Fournette, with head coach Doug Marrone citing various skill sets that would fit new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden’s scheme better. Thus far, he’s been proven right.
While the Jaguars’ offense was stagnant for the majority of the day, likely due to the early 21-7 deficit during the first half of action against the Miami Dolphins, Robinson was one of the bright spots. On the day, the rookie running back contributed with 11 rushes for 46 yards and two touchdowns, while posting six receptions for 83 yards, leading the team.
According to oddschecker.com, Robinson has jumped to the fourth-best odds at winning the regular season offensive rookie of the year award, behind just Indianapolis Colts running backs Jonathan Taylor (Colts) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Chiefs) along with Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. His stocks will only continue to rise.
Through three games this season, Robinson has totaled 339 yards from scrimmage. He became the only undrafted player in NFL history to post at least 300 scrimmage yards and multiple touchdowns through three career games, and his 339 yards from scrimmage are the most ever by an undrafted player through three games.
Robinson also joined former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt as the only players over the last 10 seasons to post at least 300 scrimmage yards and three rushing touchdowns through three career games played.
With uncertainties surrounding the team, Robinson has been one of the only bright spots, along with other rookies such as receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. and - at times - cornerback CJ Henderson.
Moving forward, the Jaguars are going to have to continue finding Robinson to make plays for the team. On Monday, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone was asked about finding opportunities for both Robinson and Shenault.
“Those guys can make plays and I like the way they are with the yards after the catch,” said Marrone when asked if the team should try to get the ball to Robinson and Shenault more often. “You’re right, these guys can catch the ball in intermediate areas and break tackles. I thought James has done a good job of that. I think Laviska’s done a good job of that.”
The Jaguars will take on the Cincinnati Bengals in a week four matchup that could ultimately define their season as the schedule will only get tougher from there. For now, the Jaguars will need to take solace in the fact that they’ve potentially hit on a running back without ever having to spend a draft choice.