There was already potential for James Robinson to lead the Jaguars’ backfield to start the year before Etienne’s injury, and now there’s no doubt.
Carlos Hyde has a chance to be a thorn in Robinson’s side because of his history with HC Urban Meyer, but Robinson should be a viable RB2 moving forward.
Robinson isn’t going to get the type of workload as he did last year, nor will he rank anywhere near first in opportunity share as he did last season.
However, there is a lot of precedent in having a workhorse back getting the majority of work in Meyer’s offense.
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.”
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.
Between Robinson and Hyde, Robinson should be the main goal line back and pass catcher as well… unless Meyer decides to involve Dare Obungowale in the pass game, in which case, I quit.
James Robinson becomes a solid RB2 pick in the 3rd round, behind Chris Carson, D’Andre Swift, and David Montgomery, but ahead of JK Dobbins.