Urban Meyer and his staff have made it pretty clear that Travis Etienne will play the “slash” role, or the Percy Harvin/Curtis Samuel role in the Jaguars offense.
That role hasn’t traditionally had a ton of carries to go along with the passing work, but given Etienne’s RB skillset, he’ll likely be given more of that work.
Still, because of what Meyer has traditionally done with the slash role, and the fact that he was primarily getting WR reps early in OTAs, there will likely be plenty to go around for James Robinson.
If you look back at Meyer’s last several years at Ohio State, he’s had big backs as his workhorses – Ezekiel Elliott (300 touches in 2014 and in 2015), Carlos Hyde, JK Dobbins.
Meyer was always looking for that workhorse. After he left Ohio State, here’s an interesting quote about the remaining RBs on the roster:
“They really like Trey Sermon and they really like Master Teague. The question is can they be the workhorse that J.K. Dobbins was or going all the way back to Carlos Hyde or Zeke Elliott? Can they handle that 15-to-25 carries per game? Because if not, you put too much pressure on Justin Fields.”
Does he similarly not want to push as much pressure on rookie QB Trevor Lawrence? In his eyes, that run game will help do that.
Urban Meyer wears his heart on his sleeve. He didn’t have nice things to say about DJ Chark, but here’s what he had to say about Robinson:
“James Robinson is one of my favorite guys. I can’t name a harder worker right now on our team, and that started in January all the way through June now. So, I love that guy.”
You hear that? He said he loves him.
Another key person that believes in the run game is Darrell Bevell, who will be the play caller for the Jags this year. Bevell’s teams have been in the top half of the league in rushing attempts in 10 of his 14 years as an NFL play caller.
It’s very possible that despite the presence of Etienne, that Robinson still sees 250 overall touches this year with the primarily goal line role. Does that make him a RB2? Maybe, possibly a flex option… but the point is that he shouldn’t be written off in drafts, especially since he’s slipped all the way to the 7th round.