Allen Robinson: Athlete or Wide Receiver?

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Switching gears to the offensive side of the ball, looking at some perimeter threats today. Starting with the very athletic Allen Robinson.

One of the more intriguing wide receivers in the draft, Allen Robinson is the receiver that certainly passes the eye ball test when he gets off the bus. Here's how he stacks up against other receivers who ran at the combine.

Measurable Robinson Average WR at the Combine
Height 6'2 6'0.88
Weight 220 201
Hands 9 1/2" 9.34
40 yard dash 4.6 4.51
Vertical 42" 35.5
Broad Jump 127" 120"
3 Cone Drill 7 6.92
20 yard Shuttle 4 4.21

Needless to say, he's a special athlete. Robinson can jump out of the gym, has enough speed to stretch the field, but is quicker than fast, and that showed up when you watch him. Penn State tried to get the ball in his hands as often as possible, and this was usually by the way of a screen pass. Unfortunately, this didn't help Robinson develop as a route runner, and that could impact how ready he is when he enters the league.

Reasons He Can Be a Primary Target

  • Enormous Catch Radius
  • Athleticism
  • Adjusts Well to Passes Downfield
  • Has Shown He Can win at the Line
Robinson has quite the skill set t o work with. He's oozing with athleticism and you see that the minute he touches the ball. He moves so well, and changes direction smoothly, especially for a receiver his size. Once he catches a pass, he instantly turns into a running back. WIth the ball in his hands, you see that he's a natural runner with very good vision. Robinson has good initial burst once the ball is in his hands, and that's what helps him to turn these short passes into long plays.

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Robinson has surprising elusiveness for a receiver his size. He's not going to run through defender after defender, but he just finds a way to make yards after the catch.

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It's incredibly important to win at the line of scrimmage in this league. Even more so in an offense like San Diego. Robinson has shown that he can win at the line with quickness, as well as winning with his feet.

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Though he only ran a 4.6 40 yard dash at the combine, Robinson has enough speed to get vertical, and has proven this. He's also a very good route runner on double moves. He has shown he's able to get vertical by either giving the defender a slight stutter step and the top of his break.

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Robinson excels on routes down the field where he can win with his athleticism and high point passes. He also adjusts well to poorly thrown passes. He's not just limited to jump balls, either. Robinson can dig low passes out as well. From a receiver standpoint, Robinson is solid at working back to the ball and giving the quarterback an overall good target.

Where He Must Improve

  • Running Crisper Routes
  • Playing to his size
  • Catching the Ball away from his pads
Robinson is such a frustrating player. Because he's so skilled, but can be so much better than what he is. It starts with his route running. At the line of scrimmage, he'll take a false step, from there, if he's facing press coverage, he won't use his hands to keep himself clean. I showed above he can win with quickness, but at the next level he must use his hands, because he will have to at some point.

Once Robinson is in his route, it's pretty easy to tell where he's headed. He starts to lean in the direction , or takes to many steps to get out of his breaks. Robinson has good change of direction, and is quick enough to where this can be easily developed. But it hasn't, and it's an issue now. Robinson will need tighten up his route running and create better separation if he wants to be successful at the next level.

There were a lot of body catches when you watch Robinson. Here are 7 games from 2013(thanks to the good folks at Draft Breakdown), you can see for yourself, Robinson refuses to extend his arms and catch the ball away from his frame. This leads to two things, defenders able to get into him and break up the pass.

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Or you just flat out drop the ball because it's naturally going to ricochet off of your pads. That's why it's so important to not only catch the ball with your hands(something that Robinson does), but catch it away from your body.

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Because of this, Robinson isn't able to win in traffic nearly as much as his size would indicate he should.

Robinson is a finesse receiver. You can see this at the line of scrimmage. Guys his size, at least you'd think, would want to punish smaller defenders who try to press him, and that's not what Robinson is out to do. He doesn't seek contact to create separation, like most big receivers do. I really believe this hurts him. He could use his body as a strength. He just doesn't strike me as a "my ball" type, like other bigger receivers in the draft. He doesn't play with that same aggression.

Grade/Final Thought

Multiple Pro Bowl Player, Top 10 8.5 – 9.0
Highly Productive Starter, 1st Round 8.0 – 8.4
Very Good Starter, Early 2nd Round 7.8 – 7.9
Reliable Starter, 2nd Round 7.5 – 7.7
Potential Starter in Year 2, 3rd Round 7.0 – 7.4
Backup/Spot Starter, 4th Round 6.5 – 6.9
Productive Backup, 5th Round 6.0 – 6.4
Very Good Backup/STs, 6th Round 5.5 – 5.9
Quality Backup/Good STs, 7th Round 5.0 – 5.4
Backup/STs/Project Player, 7th Round 4.5 – 4.9
Priority Free Agent w/ Limitations 4.0 – 4.4
Non-Draftable

Trait Weight Grade
Route Running 4 3
Speed 2.5 2
Hands 3 2.2
Ball Skills 3 2.8
YAC Ability 2 2
Effort 2 1.5
Blocking 2 1.5
Separation Skills 2 1.5
Awareness 2.5 2.3
Athleticism 2 2

Robinson grades out to a 7.4, or an early 3rd round talent. He has a great skill set to work with. He just needs to develop some. Run crisper routes, use his body more as an asset, and play to his size. If he does this, with his tools, he can be a legit threat in the NFL. For now, he's closer to a project than someone that is ready Day 1.

How He Fits as a Charger

Robinson actually lined up in the slot quite a bit. So he has the versatility to play each wide receiver spot. Because of his lack of physicality at this point, he would be best suited at the "Z" position, or off the ball where he could win with quickness. I do think he would be a great fit in a quick hitting, west coast offense. He would be able to learn under some very good route runners, and knowing how the Chargers like to implement screens in the offense, he could be that guy as well. Robinson is yet another good fit for San Diego's offense, as he can also be someone who stretches the field. It does seem, at this point at least, that Robinson is more likely to develop into a #2 receiver than a number one.

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