Josh Robinson had a breakout season for the Mississippi State Bulldogs in 2014 and decided to take his talents to the NFL despite fairly low initial draft grades. He now finds himself lodged in a deep running back class. I dug into some of his tape to see where Robinson could slot for fantasy purposes.
» Tough to tackle
» Finishes runs well
» Good pass-catcher
» Decent blocker
If you don't follow college football closely, it's likely that your introduction to Robinson was this video game-type run against Kentucky. While this was certainly an extreme case, it underscored how difficult it was to bring down the diminutive rusher. When Robinson was headed north and south with a head of steam, it was rare that one player brought him down alone.
Over the course of his college career, Robinson became an increasingly larger part of the Bulldogs passing game culminating in his career-high 28 receptions in 2014. He has soft hands and is productive after the catch. While Robinson isn't the greatest pass protector, he found some success with cut blocks on opposing rushers.
» Average burst in the hole
» Lacks speed to get to the edge
» Doesn't have breakaway speed
» Rarely makes tacklers miss
As long as Robinson was running straight ahead, he would find room more often than not. Anything that involved the back running toward the boundaries or having to make defenders miss in the backfield was generally not as successful. Robinson was helped by playing in a zone read offense that allowed things to develop in front of him. It remains to be seen if he can be as effective in a more traditional run game.
The other big issue is that Robinson isn't the type of back who is liable to make something out of nothing. He was adept at hitting the holes when a play was well blocked. But he struggled to break tackles in the backfield and isn't exactly what you'd call "shifty" in the hole. That puts an added burden on the offensive line to make sure they open large and consistent holes for Robinson.
Ideal NFL fantasy fits
Robinson isn't likely to challenge for an NFL starting job anytime soon, so he'll need to land in a place that could rotate a number of backs. Now that Ryan Mathews is no longer in San Diego, Branden Oliver moves up to take the top spot leaving a competition for touches behind him. Few teams have played running back roulette like the Carolina Panthers, a tradition that could continue even after the departure of DeAngelo Williams. Ground-n-pound might no longer be a thing in New York, but Robinson could occasionally spell Stevan Ridley and Chris Ivory.
Early fantasy draft projection
There's a good chance that Robinson won't hear his name called until Day 3 of the NFL Draft. That will give him an uphill battle to getting on the field in any meaningful way this season. Until Robinson shows something on the field, it's probably best to steer clear of him in any type of fantasy football format.