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Player Spotlight: Allen Robinson

A detailed look at Allen Robinson's fantasy prospects for 2016

Allen Robinson played football and ran track at St. Mary’s Preparatory school in Orchard Lake, Michigan. He was rated a 3-star recruit by both Rivals and 247Sports. He was offered scholarships to Buffalo, Toledo, Minnesota and Penn State. He accepted the offer to Penn State and played for three seasons for the Nittany Lions.

He appeared in 12 games as a freshman, catching only 3 passes for 29 yards. A couple of wide receivers transferred and one was suspended prior to his sophomore season making Robinson the de-facto #1 wide receiver. He responded well, catching 77 passes for 1,018 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was even better in his junior year with 97 receptions for 1,468 yards and 6 touchdowns. He was named All-American by the Sporting News. Following the season, he declared for the 2014 NFL Draft.

He had good size, measuring 6’-2” and 220 pounds at the Combine. None of his other evaluations stood out. His 40-yard dash time was among the slowest, but his 39” vertical tied for sixth best and a 10’-11” broad jump tied for third best.

Despite his outstanding production at Penn State, particularly in his final two seasons, he was not very highly regarded heading into the draft. His athleticism at the combine likely factored in and he wound up being drafted 61st overall, late in the second round by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Even worse, he was taken as the Jaguars’ second wide receiver behind Marquise Lee. The five wide receivers taken in the 2014 first round have all had success (Sammy Watkins 4, Mike Evans 7, Odell Beckham Jr 12, Brandin Cooks 20, and Kelvin Benjamin 28). The second round wide receivers have greatly underperformed with the exception of Robinson and Jarvis Landry, who was taken two picks after Robinson.

The Jaguars also drafted Blake Bortles 3rd overall that year as the first quarterback. He struggled mightily as a rookie, but greatly improved last year. His efficiency improved from 6.12 yards per attempt to 7.31, but he still trailed 15 other starting quarterbacks. His passing touchdowns rose from 11 to 35, but his interceptions climbed from 17 to 18. His completion percentage actually decreased slightly to 58.6%. The greatest difference between his rookie and second years was the increase in number of passes thrown, which climbed from 34 per game to almost 38 as he threw the sixth most passes in the NFL. A word of caution should be given here, as the Jaguars defense ranked 31st in points given up per game last year.

The Jaguars hired Gus Bradley as their head coach in 2013. He had been the defensive coordinator in Seattle for the past four seasons and had been very successful in the last two seasons, finishing 4th in the league in yardage given up and 1st in points allowed in 2012. He has not had success in Jacksonville winning only 12 games in three seasons. Their defense has been terrible, ranking 26th and 31st in points allowed the two most recent seasons.

Robinson’s career stats:

Year Games Rushes Yards TDs Targets Catches Yards ypc TDs
2014 10 0 0 0 81 48 548 11.4 2
2015 16 0 0 0 151 80 1,400 17.5 14
Totals 26 0 0 0 232 128 1,948 15.2 16

Looking Forward to 2016

The Jaguars have spent considerable money and effort to improve their defense for 2016. They have paid dearly to sign three free agents, including $42 Million guaranteed for DE Malik Jackson, $12 Million guaranteed for Safety Tashaun Gibson, and $3 Million guaranteed for CB Prince Amukamara, all slated to start. They drafted DE Dante Fowler, Jr. at 3rd overall in last year’s draft, but he missed the entire 2015 season. This year they got arguably two of the top defensive players in the draft drafting CB Jalen Ramsey 5th overall and selecting Myles Jack 36th overall with their second round selection. The addition of multiple defensive playmakers should upgrade their defensive play. The team also has a new defensive coordinator for 2016, replacing Bob Babich with Todd Wash, who has been with the Jaguars since Gus Bradley was named head coach. He also coached the defensive line with Bradley for two years in Seattle. Jason Wood provides a great perspective on the Jaguars defensive changes in “Coaching Carousel 2016: Jacksonville Jaguars Defense.“

The Jaguars have multiple fairly young receiving options who are growing up together in their passing game. In addition to Robinson, they have Allen Hurns, who also had over 1,000 receiving yards and 10 TDs in his second NFL season, despite playing through a few injuries. Their tight end is Julius Thomas, who caught 46 passes last year in his first season with the team in only 12 games. Thomas is an excellent red zone receiver who has scored 29 TDs over the previous three years. T. J. Yeldon caught 36 passes in his rookie season, also in only 12 games. Bortles does not have to force throws to his favorite target.

Their offensive line was decent a year ago (ranked 13th by Matt Bitonti), but the two free agents they added are not better than the two they lost. Those losses and additions could reduce their overall effectiveness as it will take some time for them to get used to each other. Their biggest free agency or draft offensive addition was Chris Ivory who signed a five-year deal for $32 Million. Another reason the team threw the ball so often a year ago was the abundance of injuries to running backs. Yeldon led the team with 182 carries for 740 yards. All told, they only had 295 running back rushes among six different backs. The presence of Ivory along with Yeldon should give them more consistency in the running game.

Positives

• Robinson was far and away Bortles favorite target in 2015 with 9.4 per game
• He led the team in catches (80), yards per catch (17.5) and touchdowns (14)
• He had three multi-TD games and topped 100 yards receiving six times

Negatives

• The team focused on the defense this off-season adding multiple play-makers and should not need to play catch-up as often
• The addition of Ivory should help the offense be more consistent running the ball
• Bortles has an abundance of weapons to use in the passing game

Projections

Name Games Rushes Yards TDs Rec Yards TDs
David Dodds 16 0 0 0 83 1,228 9
Bob Henry 16 0 0 0 79 1,260 10
Maurile Tremblay 16 0 0 0 74 1,198 10
Jason Wood 16 0 0 0 75 1,225 8
Stephen Holloway 16 0 0 0 74 1,150 8

Final thoughts

The improvement in the defense should decrease the number of passes thrown by the Jaguars, which should limit Robinson’s opportunities from a season ago when he had 151 targets. The radical increases that he had in yards per catch and touchdowns scored between his rookie season and last year seem to proclaim a return to the mean with his production. His average draft position reflects optimism on his ability to repeat his finish of WR4 last year.

Other Viewpoints

Jeff Tefertiller in his Footballguys.com Player Comments

Robinson has moved into the elite class of WRs. He will need continued improvement from Bortles in order to match the high red zone and TD numbers.

Ryan O’Halloran on Jacksonville.com – Jaguars Insider: Allen Robinson going to be a beast, says Hall of Famer Michael Irvin

Interviewed during Super Bowl week, Irvin said, “That’s my man, A.R. He’s going to be a beast for a long time. He’s a solid guy. Coach Gruden always tells me, ‘Michael, I’m telling you, A.R. reminds me most of you.’ I see that, too. He’s a lot like me and I had to get ‘me’ on my team in the Pro Bowl. I love the way he plays and I love his confidence. We had him on our show coming out for the draft and had him working out and the thing he said was, ‘I’m going to show everybody.’ He wasn’t drafted in the first round but he said he would change the game for his team and that’s what he’s done. I text him about what it takes to be great and he soaks it up with a sponge and it shows on the field.”

Jason Wood in his Footballguys.com Player Comments

The Jaguars passing attach is not going to replicate last season. Watching the film, it’s a near miracle Bortles was able to get away with as many poor throws as he did. Part of Bortles success was thanks to Robinson’s dynamism, but we still have to view last year as a potential career season. He’s a WR1 in most formats, but is being overdrafted in the late first, early second.