Brian Robinson Jr. Draft Profile
If we are talking about old-school downhill running football, it is hard to find a back better than Brian Robinson Jr. The Alabama runner is a physical powerhouse that runs through defenders in a similar fashion to Leonard Fournette. Both Robinson and Fournette have great builds and have that second gear that head coaches drool over. Robinson embraces contact and makes his money in the trenches; he has a mentality that Dan Campbell would love. While I do not think the Lions are in the market for a running back, I do believe that both the Buccaneers and Saints would like to add depth in the later rounds. If Robinson can be used in a similar manner as Fournette, I believe he’ll be a very impactful NFL running back. I have alluded to this earlier, but running backs always go later than expected; I believe the same will go for Robinson. Despite finding success in Alabama, I do not anticipate Robinson Jr. being a day one starter. With that being said, I think he will be a very good number two running back in the NFL that is the thunder to another back’s lightning.
When scouting running backs, the first thing most people look for is their ability to run the football… that makes sense. When watching Robinson, the first thing that stood out was his blocking skills. Robinson Jr. is an absolute menace in pass protection and his willingness to block will get him on the field even if he isn’t the best back on the team. As I stated earlier, Robinson Jr. embraces contact as a blocker, but he delivers contact as a runner. There is no other way to put it; he is just a hard runner who invites defenders over just to run them over. I expect Robinson to be a reoccurring guest on Kyle Brandt’s “Angry Runs” segment on NFL Network. While he is a North-South runner, Robinson does have an effective sidestep that makes defenders miss in short areas. While Robinson’s not the fastest guy, he does the ability to reach a second gear once he breaks past linebackers. As a straight-line runner, you would not expect Robinson Jr. to be good in the passing game, but he improved as a receiver every season at Alabama. In his final season under Nick Saban’s regime, Robinson caught 35 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns. I believe Robinson Jr. is a perfect third-down back because on third and short he can get those tough yards up the middle, and on third and long he can either stay in as a blocker or run a route. Even if he falls to the ladder half of day three, I can see Robinson Jr. making an impact early on.
While I do believe Robinson Jr. is a complete back, there are some vital skills that are missing in his game. He lacks quickness and is not very elusive. In a draft where Isaiah Spiller, Kenneth Walker III, and Breece Hall are all available, it will be hard for a general manager to justify a day two pick on Robinson Jr. Offensive coordinators can’t be as creative with Robinson Jr. as they can be with those other guys. While Robinson Jr. does have downhill speed, he doesn’t have the lateral speed that teams who run the west-coast system value. Robinson Jr. also had the pleasure of playing behind Evan Neal and one of the best offensive lines in College Football. While I do believe Robinson Jr. will be able to make an impact in the NFL, his role will be limited.
Contact Balance 8.75/10
Lateral Speed and Change of Direction 5.75/8
Receiving Threat 5/6
Long Speed 3.5/5
Pass Protection 5/5
Final Rating: 77
Pro Comparison: Leonard Fournette
Scheme Fit: A Number 2 Bruising Back
Draft Grade: Fifth Round
Draft Projection: Fifth - Sixth Round