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As we continue with my trip around the rookie class, I took a look at former Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson who has good size at 6’ 3” 220 lbs. and ran a 4.6 second 40 at the Combine (improved his time to the 4.5s at his pro day).  There are various feeling about him in the draftrobinson community, so I decided to watch five of his 2013 games against Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio State, University of Central Florida, and Syracuse to get a better idea of what he skills he can bring to the NFL.  Big Ten receivers have lost some credibility over the years, can Robinson reverse this trend?

The young wide receiver lines up all over the formation: in the slot, split out wide, and was occasionally sent in motion.  The first thing that jumped off the screen is that Robinson does a lot of looking around when he isn’t the primary target or when his team runs the ball.  His effort as a run blocker was lackluster.  While I understand this scouting report is more for fantasy purposes, keep in mind the better a receiver is a run blocker, the more time they will spend on the field.  The other part of his game that concerned me was his stance on the line of scrimmage.  It tipped off the defense at times which route he planned to run.  Robinson needs to get off the line of scrimmage the same way, every time.  That is not to say he could not improve in this area, but it is alarming off the bat.

His quarterback this season did not do him any favors as the receiver was underthrown quite often.  He was rarely given the opportunity to catch the ball in stride, but when that did happen, Robinson took advantage and did his a lot of his damage.  The receiver caught the ball a lot with his body, some of that was the quarterback’s fault with ball placement, but some of that goes to the wide out too.  The more time it takes to secure the ball, the less time a player has to gain valuable yardage.  He also struggled with lapses of concentration as Robinson would make an amazing catch on one play, and then fight his hands an easy pass on the very next play.  Mixed efforts cause quarterbacks to find more reliable targets of their passes.

Robinson is good at getting initial separation off the line of scrimmage.  He shows burst and explosion by adjusting his hips quickly.  I liked the way Penn State used him in the bubble screen game.  He reads his blockers well and can make defenders miss in tight quarters.  In the Syracuse game, Robinson knocked down one of offensive lineman trying to pick up extra yardage. While that is unusual, it shows his want to make the most out of every play.  The receiver does his best work in open space, but is more than willing to take punishment when targeted in the middle of the field, especially with double coverage.  His good balance comes in handy as he can spin out of trouble when defensive backs try to tackle him too high.

He is a physical receiver who is more than willing to hand fight and makes difficult catches with a defensive back in his hip pocket. Robinson has a good stiff-arm that he uses to keep defenders off his body and sets them up with a shoulder shake or stutter step when changing directions. It’s also important to note that he will fight for the extra yardage once he secured the pigskin. There are quite a few times when he works back towards his quarterback when he senses the signal caller is under pressure.

Robinson got used on reverses too, but it really depended on the defense about how effective the wide out was with those.  There were times he got flattened out losing yardage as the receiver couldn’t find a single crease; however, when he played Ohio State with his team down by seven touchdowns, Robinson looked spectacular reversing his field making six defenders miss using great agility combined with speed while screaming 66 yards for a touchdown!  It’s a combination of his field vision, wiggle, and the second or third team defense on the field that made it all possible.  Unfortunately, it seemed that Robinson elevates his game when facing lesser competition.

The receiver is a good downfield threat. Most wide outs can sell a double move to create separation, but Robinson can go the extra mile and sell up to four moves confusing most defensive backs.  He fully extends himself to make difficult catches as the receiver is willing to dig down low to make the play.  Robinson has good leaping ability and can catch the ball at its highest point, keeping it away from the defense.  The wide out has a grace to him that helps him contort himself to find the ball in the air even with tight coverage.  It’s the balance and ball tracking that make him a good downfield threat.  He knows where he is on the field at all times and uses the sidelines to his advantage.  Unlike many college receivers, he always attempted to make sideline receptions with both feet in bounds as only foot is required in the college game.

The thing to keep in mind with this evaluation is that Robinson is not an elite receiver.  He is a big bodied downfield threat, but does not catch the ball consistently or have the route running skills to become a WR1 in the NFL.  His fantasy value would increase if he is drafted by a pass-first offense, but might struggle to make an impact on a run-first team like Seattle or San Francisco.  I now have him ranked as my top ten rookie wide receiver.

For further questions or comments, you can reach me at @AndrewMiley or @Dynasty_Blitz on twitter. 

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