The Jacksonville Jaguars are playing their part in what is one of the most frustrating seasons in the NFL. With star players on both sides of the ball for teams around the league going down injured at an alarming rate, players not living up to expectations and feelings euphoria and despair trade places from week to week. The Jaguars have played their part in the season filled with frustration but it seems their offense has finally come to play and in particular second year wide receiver Allen Robinson.
After a slow rookie season in which the 22-year-old posted just 548 yards and two touchdowns through ten games Robinson has exploded this season and has created a formidable partnership with fellow wide receiver Allen Hurns in what is becoming a ‘pick your poison’ offense with tight end Julius Thomas and running back T.J. Yeldon also in the mix.
Robinson has become a true number one wide out throughout this season and has given quarterback Blake Bortles an all round threat. With superstars like Jordy Nelson not in the picture through injury and premier pass catchers like Demaryius Thomas and Calvin Johnson enduring up and down seasons the question has to be asked that, on the basis of this season, has Allen Robinson become a top ten wide out? Names are batted back and forth all season long with endless lists of ‘Top 10 receivers’ compiled and all the usual suspects appear: Julio Jones, Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. to name a few. Robinson so far this year has kept pace with the elite receivers in the league. He currently sits eighth overall in receiving yards (1,084) and is in a three way tie at the top for receiving touchdowns (12). The numbers are not to be sniffed at, the Penn State product has shown huge strides to becoming everything Gus Bradley and David Caldwell thought he could be when they drafted him in the second round last season.
The production is outstanding and the numbers alone speak for themselves but what Robinson puts on tape is sensational and he consistently shows he can do it all. Robinson stands six foot three and although he does not have the high end breakaway speed that A.J. Green or Beckham has his hard running, size and athleticism make up for his lack of top end pace. So often now are wide receivers pigeonholed as one trick ponies: straight line speed, possession receiver, red zone threat but Robinson is a pass catcher who can do it all. His ability to stretch the field and give Bortles a deep option to throw to and keep opposing defenses honest. One of the biggest compliments that can be paid to the big receiver is that he consistently draws double coverage. Defenses fear him for what he can do outside the numbers as well as inside them. This has seen Hurns draw more favourable matchups and helped him also produce an outstanding season. The best receivers draw double coverage on a weekly basis but they also find ways to beat it and Robinson is doing exactly that.
What was clear when watching him in action at Wembley against the Buffalo Bills is that Allen does not necessarily have to be open for him to make the catch. On multiple occasions the Bills blanketed the Jags wide out well but as we have seen time and again with the best receivers – that sometimes just is not enough. Robinson made one outstanding play going up with Bills defensive back Stephon Gilmore before plucking the ball from the air for a 20 yard gain.
As well as his impressive ability between the 20s Robinson is also building a good rapport with his quarterback in the red zone where the Jaguars use his size and physicality to great effect. Most recently Robinson hauled in a four yard touchdown pass from Bortles during their stomping of the Indianapolis Colts and he did it with a fantastic double move and got between the linebacker and the safety – he was simply a mismatch on that play.
If we measure number one wide outs on the basis of their production between the twenties, their number of touchdowns as well as their versatility and ability to cause mismatches then there is no question that Allen Robinson, at this moment in time, is playing as a top ten wide receiver. It can be easy to discredit him due to the team he plays on but there can be no doubt now that the second year pro will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.