The Jaguars have a sketchy past converting quarterbacks to other positions. Matt Jones was an okay player before off-field issues dropped him out of the league. Zach Miller was a tight end that simply couldn't stay healthy. However, Denard Robinson is a completely different type of player.
Denard Robinson's willingness to switch positions for the good of his team and his NFL career is extremely smart. He isn't an NFL-caliber passer, but identifying that flaw and being willing to play whatever position his team wants should give him a much more productive career.
You can see how I graded the Robinson pick in the Draft Tracker. Let's look at how the Jaguars can use this versatile weapon.
By listing Robinson as a running back, the Jaguars are making it clear where they see him lining up offensively. Robinson has the speed (4.43-second 40 at the combine) to pull away from defenders, and he has the ability to find holes and explode through them.
As a running back, Robinson should see most of his action on earlier downs as a change of pace. I don't foresee him playing a lot on third downs, because he likely isn't much of a blocker after spending his college career as a quarterback.
"Shoelace" gives the Jaguars a lot of flexibility offensively. They could line up Robinson with MJD in the backfield and fake a pitch one way only to run the other way. They could use Robinson as a Wildcat quarterback if they wanted. Robinson could also simply line up as a traditional back and take the handoff.
In addition to being listed as a running back, Robinson is also being listed as a kick returner by the Jaguars. Denard Robinson should get a chance to win the kickoff return job in camp, and he should add an explosive element to the kickoff return game.
Robinson worked out as a wide receiver during Senior Bowl practices (another Senior Bowler for Dave Caldwell!) and played some snaps at the position during the Senior Bowl game as well. The Jaguars don't see him as a long-term receiver, but that doesn't mean he couldn't line up at the position a few times as a wrinkle.
Robinson's role on offense will likely consist of a handful of carries each game as a change of pace. I don't see him getting 100 carries on the season, though I could see him picking up 100 combined carries and catches.
I expect the Jaguars to use Robinson in a deliberate attempt to create mismatches, which means he should be effective in his role. Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch should have fun devising plays that involve getting Robinson in space or matched up against opposing linebackers.
If he gets into the second level, Robinson has the speed to take it to the house. I fully expect him to find the end zone several times this year...five seems like a good estimate.
In addition to his role as a running back, Robinson will also battle for the starting kickoff return position. He has the explosiveness and change-of-direction ability to take a kickoff to the house, and I expect him to break at least one for a touchdown this season.
Drafting both Ace Sanders and Denard Robinson gives the Jaguars two dynamite special teamers and offensive weapons. Imagine covering a kickoff where both Robinson and Sanders are deep. Who do you kick to? What if they crisscross after one catches the ball? The kickoff coverage team would have to track both players.
The Jaguars spent Day 1 getting a whole lot stronger. They spent Day 2 getting a whole lot better at stopping the pass. Now they're spending Day 3 getting a whole lot more explosive. Jaguars fans are going to really enjoy watching Denard Robinson.
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