Film Session: What does Alabama RB Brian Robinson Jr. bring to Washington’s backfield?(Detail)

Alabama Game

The Washington Commanders selected Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. with the 98th overall choice in the third round of the NFL draught. In 2021, Robinson Jr. was a Redshirt Senior and is now 23 years old and entering the league.

Because of this, his stats continued to rise each year due to more playing time and a less crowded backfield. As a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Robinson Jr. will share the field alongside previous first-round draught pick Najee Harris in 2019.

Both the NFL Combine and Robinson Jr’s pro day were attended by the wide receiver. In light of his test findings, his RAS revealed that he was an all-around good athlete with a good short-area burst, but he had weak explosiveness and agility overall.

In terms of injuries, Robinson Jr. had a few in 2020. He missed the following week’s game against Southern Miss because of a broken rib he received against the Florida Gators last season. However, he returned to Ole Miss and fought through the rib ailment that had been bothering him for some time.

Later in the season, during Alabama’s Iron Bowl showdown with the Auburn Tigers, Robinson Jr. suffered a hamstring injury. He tried to play through injury and had 16 carries before he was taken out of the game.

However, Robinson Jr. elected to play through it in the SEC Championship clash between Alabama and Georgia.

Examine what Washington can get out of Brian Robinson Jr. and what he’ll have to work on in the NFL.

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Passing Game Pros

Robinson Jr. hasn’t had a lot of opportunities to show off his abilities to be a real dual-threat running back at the college level. He has caught passes for the Crimson Tide, but the way he was used has created doubts about his genuine abilities.
Robinson Jr. was frequently sent into the flats by Alabama, or he was split out wide and asked to do hitches as he was lined up near the numbers as a check-down option. As a final possibility, of course.
As a result, the focus shifts to his ability to execute routes effectively from the backfield, as well as his hand-eye coordination.
What is the extent of his ability to catch the ball while moving? I don’t think this is a legitimate “con” yet, but I’m sure that Washington will be looking into this area of his game this summer and into training camp.

Run Game Pros

Through his quick processing abilities and his ability to strike the hole he chose, Brian Robinson Jr. is one of the best runners in the league. A good display of functional strength is demonstrated by Robinson’s balance, in which he uses his free arm to absorb or even generate distance from the tackle attempt.
On the field, he has an uncanny knack at deflecting or rolling his shoulders in response to the angle at which the defender is coming at him, making it difficult for him to be tackled.

Run Game Cons

Robinson Jr. doesn’t give off many hints that he’s hiding in plain sight. As he works to gain the yards in front of him, his field of vision narrows. As a result, he was unable to make any defenders miss with his athleticism in the few opportunities he was given.

Conclusion

There are several run concepts used by Washington, including power and zone. In the inside-zone runs where Robinson Jr.’s vision, quick processing, and burst will help him take advantage of this specific run scheme, I believe his style of play will be most effective as a zone runner. Robinson Jr. also has good ball security and constantly displays awareness of safeguarding the football in traffic.

There is speculation that Robinson Jr. will eventually replace Gibson as the team’s primary starter, and that speculation has merit. With outstanding route running and the ability to catch and respond to quarterback throws from numerous spots, Robinson Jr. has the potential to be an effective three-down back for his team’s offense.

That doesn’t diminish his ability as a pass-blocker; he can take on opponents from any of the three levels in the NFL.

Antonio Gibson has shown flashes of being a playmaker for the offense and is certainly a talented player. I doubt Gibson will see a significant drop in touches until he loses a large chunk of his carries.

OC There is the possibility that Scott Turner will give Gibson a new position on the field, one that allows him to move around rather than mostly remain in the backfield.

Ex-NFL tight end Logan Paulsen and I discussed Robinson Jr. in greater depth below, including how Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson differ in skill.

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