Undrafted rookie James Robinson has been named the starting running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars to start the season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are clearly in a rebuilding mode and have set their roster up with an obvious eye on the future. They have young players in featured roles up and down the roster as they look to find players who can make an impact on this team for many years.
The Jags released their unofficial depth chart for Week 1 on Monday and the running back position stood out as particularly interesting. After moving on from Leonard Fournette last week, we knew that the running back position was up in the air for Jacksonville, but it was still surprising to see undrafted rookie James Robinson at the top of the depth chart.
According to their unofficial depth chart, Robinson is the top back for the Jacksonville Jaguars, followed by second-year undrafted back Devine Ozigbo and veteran Chris Thompson. Robinson has clearly impressed during camp and is not in a good position to make an impact for the Jags early in his career.
While James Robinson is listed at the top of the depth chart, this will undoubtedly be at least a bit of a committee for Jacksonville. Thompson will likely get most of the work on passing downs, while Robinson and Ozigbo will share early-down work.
The Jags are hoping at least one of Robinson or Ozigbo establishes themselves this season, taking care of the position for the team for the immediate future. Robinson appears to be in line for the most work at first, but both will have a chance to make an impact.
FCS star with a bright future
Despite his undrafted status, James Robinson was certainly an interesting back in the 2020 NFL Draft class. He was an absolute star at Illinois State, piling up 4,462 yards (5.6 yards per carry) and 44 touchdowns throughout his four-year career. While his numbers did come against FCS competition, Robinson was a productive back who also showed a legitimate NFL skill-set.
Robinson shows impressive ball-carrier vision and enough quickness to get to his holes in time. He does a nice job of working through traffic, is elusive in the open field and is a tough runner who is difficult to bring down on first contact. Robinson shows a strong combination of quickness and power that should play at the next level and his contact balance consistently stands out on tape.
While Robinson may have a relatively limited ceiling, he is a good, solid football player who can come in and make an immediate impact for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags are clearly looking for guys who can help this team beyond the 2020 season and Robinson is an interesting talent who could fit the bill. It is great that they are giving him an early opportunity and letting him run with it. Can Robinson make the most out of this opportunity? Only time will tell.