Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Countdown: Making the Case for Allen Robinson

Andrew Watkins@@AndrewWatkins10Correspondent IApril 5, 2014

Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson (8) escapes Illinois defensive back Supo Sanni (7)during the first half of the NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, in Champaign, Ill. Penn State defeated Illinois 35-7. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Seth Perlman

It’s fair to say that the additions of Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey have lessened the Pittsburgh Steelers’ need at wide receiver. This means the Steelers don’t have to, and likely won’t (depending on players available), spend a first-round pick on a wide receiver.

However, neither Moore nor Heyward-Bey should be seen as more than a short-term fix at the position.

After all, Moore is coming off his worst statistical season since an injury-shortened ’09 and will be on the wrong side of 30 by the time next season starts. At 27, Heyward-Bey has youth on his side, but the former seventh overall pick has been a colossal bust through five seasons.

Fortunately for Pittsburgh, they could bypass a receiver on Day 1 and still net an impact player. One who fits the bill well would be Penn State’s Allen Robinson.

With elite-level size and production, Robinson was considered a fringe first-rounder through much of the ’13 season. Due to a lackluster 4.60 40-yard dash, though, most recent mock drafts see him slide to Day 2, including Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller.

No, Robinson isn’t a burner, but is speed really a necessity in Pittsburgh’s current receiving corps? Heyward-Bey, Markus Wheaton and Antonio Brown all ran sub-4.50 40-yard dashes.

What Robinson lacks in speed he more than makes up for in several other facets of his game.

Gene J. Puskar

The 6’2”, 220-pounder showed great tackle-breaking and run-after-catch ability over his past two seasons in Happy Valley.

In fact, Robinson had at least one 40-plus-yard reception in eight of his team’s 12 games this past season. Not bad for a guy who lacks breakaway speed.

Where Robinson really excels is in high-pointing jump balls and pulling down contested passes. That much was evidenced in Robinson’s unforgettable grab in the Nittany Lions’ miraculous win over Michigan.

Facing a touchdown deficit with time winding down, freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg heaved up a prayer for Robinson. Robinson, though, was stuck behind a cornerback in much better position to pull down the underthrown pass.

Amazingly, Robinson plucked the ball from above the corner’s head and jump-started one of the most amazing victories in program history.

And that was with a freshman quarterback. The season before, Robinson caught passes from an overachieving walk-on in Matt McGloin.

Not to mention that the team’s next best receiver in both seasons was Brandon Felder, who will graduate with a single-season high of 437 receiving yards.

Darron Cummings

In spite of facing less-than-ideal circumstances, Robinson excelled at Penn State. Or more appropriately, he dominated. Robinson racked up nearly 2,500 yards in his two seasons as a starter and led the Big Ten in receiving both years as well.

There’s no telling what Robinson might have accomplished if he played with a more experienced or physically gifted quarterback. But if paired with Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers fans would get the chance to find out.

And odds are they’d like the result.