James Robinson has a long line of talented Jacksonville backers to measure up. Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew have set a high standard for the position, and while the game has changed in favor of passing, rushing offense remains crucial.
After an outstanding season in 2020 as an undrafted rookie, there is a bit of disagreement over Robinson’s future. Some believe it will remain the feature film for the team, while others believe that role will eventually go to Travis Etienne.
But one of those former Jags running backs Jones-Drew believes Robinson can land the job, at least in 2021. The NFL.com analyst places Robinson among the league’s best backs, placing 18th (just behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire of Kansas City and ahead of Chris Carson of Seattle).
A rookie undrafted in 2020, James Robinson has an explosive game and no shortage of creativity in the open field. If he was the clear RB1 in the Jags backfield this fall, I would put him in the top 12, easy. But I have to consider that Jacksonville selected running back Travis Etienne in the first round. Who will end up with the most keys? I’m afraid we will have to wait until September to get our response.
Robinson finished tied for fifth in the league in rushing yards in 2020, but that can be largely attributed to his high carrying percentage in the NFL. Etienne’s presence will likely mean Robinson’s production will drop, but he could still easily see the No.1 run back-level.
Considering that everything points to the team considering a third running back role for Etienne, the way seems clear for Robinson to be the team’s best option on the pitch again. If rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence can pull it off in the air, it should open up the running game a bit for Robinson.