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How good can Aldrick Robinson be?

Feb 7, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT


The Redskins signed Aldrick Robinson to a one-year contract sometime last week. There was no doubt that Robinson would be back. Although he technically was a free agent since his contract expired he has only two accrued years of NFL service. That meant he was an exclusive-rights free agent and his options were to stay with the Redskins or find something else to do for a living. With the contract coming in at $570,000, the minimum for a player with two years in league, Robinson made the wise choice and signed with the Redskins.

In order to collect on that contract Robinson has to make the team and that is not a given. Any player who was drafted by the previous regime and has just 29 receptions in 31 games played will have to fight off challengers to get a roster spot.

It’s a no-risk proposition for Jay Gruden and the Redskins. There is no guaranteed money in the deal and if they decide he isn’t what they are looking for they can release him.

He will get a look for a roster spot for the same reason he was drafted, his speed. He ran a 4.35 in the 40 at the combine and the Redskins took him based on the old adage that they could teach him how to improve his route running and ball catching but they can’t teach him how to run that 4.35.

In three years with the Redskins (he spent all but one game of his rookie season on the practice squad) his progress in moving from “wow, he’s fast” to “hey, he’s a quality NFL receiver” has been spotty.

For most of the 2012 and 2013 seasons Robinson didn’t get much of an opportunity to play. In 2012 he played 96 snaps the first two games and after that he got more than 15 snaps in a game just once. It looked like he was going to take off after catching touchdown bombs of 49 yards against the Eagles and 68 yards in Dallas to help start a season-ending seven-game winning streak. But Robinson played a total of 21 snaps in the last five games and was not targeted once.

He continued to play sparingly in 2013 until Leonard Hankerson suffered a knee injury in Week 11 in Philadelphia. He started to take advantage of his opportunity. He caught 11 passes for 213 yards (19.4 yards per catch) in the last four games of the season. One encouraging aspect of his performance was that eight of those receptions were good for between 10 and 20 yards. That means that he was making catches on intermediate routes and getting some yards after the catch (44 per Pro Football Focus) and he wasn’t just going deep.

Can Robinson duplicate what he did in the latter part of 2013 for the entire 2014 season? We will find out. If he makes the team—and challengers for his roster spot could be brought in via free agency and the draft—he will benefit from Jay Gruden’s tendency to rotate his receivers. Robinson should get his chance and we’ll see if he can convert from fast guy to fast NFL receiver.

  1. mlandon24 - Feb 7, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    Perhaps Aldrick can be used much like the Bengals used Andrew Hawkins this and mostly last year. He needs more opportunities in my mind. He is a threat when he has the ball in his hands. I though Kyle could get more creative getting him the ball (screens, quick timing routes etc.) He did show some improvement in the intermediate pass game near the end of the year like you mentioned Rich.

    How about Hank? I love the guy, but am worried about him. How is his knee coming along? When can players rehab at Redskins park?

  2. jorance72 - Feb 7, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    I think what AR has to offer is what we’ve already seen. An average size WR with excellent straight line speed. He’ll haul in the occasional bomb, but IMO is a #3 WR at best. He’s not lightning quick or shifty like a young Santana or DeSean Jackson, nor is he physical after the catch like Garcon. I really want him to do well, but just not sure it’s gonna happen here. I know he reportedly had a great camp last offseason, but I’m sure that’s a product of going against our D.

    For the price, I definitely think he’s worth having on the team. Hopefully Gruden will find ways to get him more involved in the Offense!

  3. kenlinkins - Feb 7, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    Let’s open up the subject just a little bit and ask the question of How many of the Redskins 2011,2012, 2013 draft picks will get better with a new coaching staff? This is what I want to watch for in Preseason, is RG3 getting coached up and not just shown plays from the pocket, Can guys like Robinson, Hankerson, Briscoe, Paul, Helu, 2014 draft picks and the pile of Undrafted Free Agents we sign (high number due to the 80 Jr’s hitting the draft this year) develop into true NFL Starters / Back Ups and Special Team members? Do we have some guys ripe for quick development to take the next step or did we role snake eyes. The number of dropped balls and missed tackles tells me that the Shanahan Coaching system was more of “learn this play” and much less on “this is how it is done in the NFL”. If I am right, we could see fast improvement from many. Looking for the 2014 Poster Boys for the “Hard Work Pays Off” award of 2014.

    • greed - Feb 8, 2014 at 11:50 AM

      Agreed ! previous staff did horrible job of developing young players and giving them time and playing oppurtunity to develop, playing your fastest reciever in obvious 3rd in long down 21 pts and game ending running situations is not developing a player, i think he should be starting opp garcon

  4. jaxjoe - Feb 8, 2014 at 6:50 PM

    I was searching for his catch rate and found it on Football Outsiders. It’s 39%. Out of 150+ receivers, Aldrick Robinson ranks third from the bottom. That’s awful. He doesn’t belong in this league with those stats. Santana is 54%. Josh Morgan is 62%. Robinson is re-signed but I can’t imagine keeping him the team as I’m sure the coaches are going to most likely lean on other talent.

  5. alextwrs - Feb 12, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    Yea, I like Aldrick in the same role as a percy Harvin type and Gruden did a quality job with Hawkins. Just please cut Josh Morgan, I have never seen such an overpaid/useless player on the skins since……. well…..dare i say it……FAT ALBERT

    • Rich Tandler - Feb 12, 2014 at 3:26 PM

      Morgan is a free agent.

  6. alextwrs - Feb 12, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    Good to know, I know he was a high character guy, but we just had no use for him and not one of Shanahans better moves. Good stuff Rich, i know it seems like i am slamming everything, but I love the skins and want the best for em, young, physical and hungry players. Archives

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