Brian Robinson is a rarity in the recent history of Alabama football. Not many players have led the Crimson Tide in rushing and have not been considered one of the top RBs in their draft class. His 271/1,343/14 Senior season was a top-ten all-time season for the University of Alabama on par with previous greats like Shaun Alexander. He was also a competent receiver out of the backfield, securing 35/296/2 in his lone season as the starter. Yet despite all this statistical success, Robinson is written off by much of the draft community as simply a product of the system. For this article, I would like to dive into some of the strengths and weaknesses of this polarizing prospect. To decipher what type of pro and, more importantly, what type of dynasty asset he can become for your team. Without further ado, let us dive into Robinson.
Tale of the Tape
Name: Brian Robinson Jr.
As with virtually every RB that comes through Tuscaloosa, Brain Robinson entered college as a highly touted High School Prospect. 247 Sports had him ranked as the eighth RB nationally in his class. Robinson barely had to leave home as he came to the Crimson Tide via Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. This may have something to do with his patience but more on that later. He chose his hometown university over some heavy hitter programs such as Auburn, Georgia, and Cincinnati. You can see some of his High School highlights below.
When I watch Robinson, the first thing that stands out to me is his feet. You can see some examples of his active feet below.
When you watch him run, he has very active feet.
Small choppy steps and an excellent bounce cut allow him to effectively pick his hole when working his way through the line of scrimmage.
As I mentioned above, Robinson is a willing and able part of the passing game. You can see a couple of examples of his value to the Crimson Tide in this facet of the game below.
He is functional as both a receiver and a blocker where he is willing to stick his head in and stifle oncoming rushers.
Another area that Robinson does well in is running with power. You can see a couple of nice examples of his power running below.
Despite his upright running style, he can routinely fall forward and move the pile.
His power is unrivaled in this draft class.
To see a whole game in our Film Room, click here for the Tennessee All-22 game.
While I agree that simply watching highlight footage can be a disservice when scouting players, it can also provide a helpful tool. Watching highlights of individual games can show you the upper ceiling of what a player is capable of. When it comes to Robinson, the highlight film that stands out was his last win in college. During the National Semi-final game against the Cincinnati Bearcats, the former Alabama RB racked up a career-high 26 carries for 204 yards. Just watch the highlights of that game below and ask yourself if this kid can be successful at the next level.
While watching the film gave me a better feeling about Brian Robinson Jr. than I thought going into it, that doesn’t mean he is without his faults. For starters, his upright running style can get him into trouble at the next level. Sure, players like Matt Forte made a career out of running in this manner, but the successes like him are few and far between.
Another area Robinson needs to work on at the next level is his desire to seek contact. When watching his film, you will sometimes find him seeking out contact. This, in conjunction with his upright running style, may get him into trouble at the next level. One final area that Robinson lacks is homerun speed. You can see him rip off numerous chunk plays when watching his film, but his pursuers often catch him. The longest run of his college career at Alabama was for 37 yards.
I had a hard time determining whom Robinson reminded me of when watching his film. In the end, I believe I see a bit of former Dallas and Chicago RB Marion Barber when I watch his film. Barber was also a powerful runner who ran with a physicality yet lacked the homerun speed that would make him an elite talent. Robinson is a bit looser in the hips with a better jump cut. Still, I see a lot of the same game between these two players.
To be honest, I went into this article not expecting to be a big fan of Robinson. Looking at the surface, he seemed like a limited athlete playing on one of the best teams in the nation. However, I came away with a better appreciation of the athlete and the type of player he could be at the next level. I believe that his lack of long-term production at Alabama was due to his willingness to wait his turn for a chance to start for his hometown college. Growing up in the shadow of Bryant-Denny Stadium, I believe it was his childhood dream to play for the Crimson Tide.
Furthermore, I think that Robinson could be an excellent committee RB in the NFL. His style would pair nicely with someone like Austin Ekeler. If I had to guess, I would say that Robinson will be a mid-round selection in the upcoming NFL draft and will likely go somewhere between the second and third rounds of your dynasty drafts, depending on landing spots. Please do yourself a favor and check out his tape in the Dynasty Nerds film room. You might
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