The knock on former Penn State wideout Allen Robinson has involved two areas: speed and hands. The NFL scouting report on him stated that he didn’t have separation speed and he catches the ball against his body instead of with his hands. His performance at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine this weekend validated some of the NFL scouts’ concerns.
The NFL Scouting Combine doesn’t test catching ability, but they certainly test speed in a number of ways. The most bandied about stat is the 40 yard dash, something we all can relate to. Robinson flat-0ut sucked in that drill, running a 4.60. Hell, some defensive linemen can run 4.60; they make excellent edge rushers. (The great Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina ran a 4.47; Jackson Jeffcoat of Texas ran a 4.60; and Chris Smith of Arkansas ran a 4.54.)
Where did Robinson excel? The long jump. He leaped 127 inches over the sawdust.
Getting back to speed comparisons, the NFL’s assessment of GTDB seems to be true. By way of comparison to other WRs we know and love, here’s where that 4.60 fits in:
Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin: 4.50
Kelvin Benjamin, FSU: 4.61
Corey Brown, tOSU: 4.51
Martavis Bryant, Clemson: 4.42
Brandin Cooks, Oregon St.: 4.33
Bennie Fowler, Moo U.: 4.52
Jeremy Gallon, Michigan: 4.49
Sammy Watkins, Clemson: 4.43
If you want to know about real speed, our friend (because he sat out our game) Dri Archer of Kent State recorded a 4.26. My recollection is that former Penn State wideout Eddie Drummond beat that mark with a 4.22 a dozen years ago.
So, what we can conclude here is that GTDB doesn’t have whatchacall “elite speed”. They talk about separation speed after the catch and the oft referred to film clip showing a DB chasing down Robinson from behind. That does not bespeak first-round speed.
Hands, now that’s a subjective area. NFL scouts will see what they see, and thus far they’ve seen Robinson catching the ball against his body, which he sometimes has to do twice to haul it in.
Only one of the WR contestants beat Robinson in the long jump, although a couple tied him. This means that he has a certain spring in his step.
My assessment for now is that Robinson won’t go in the first round. There are just too many talented wide receivers in this pool, many of whom have the requisite speed. The best things Robinson has going for him are NFL size and leaping ability. Furthermore, I don’t see Robinson as a first-option WR in the NFL. Perhaps third, maybe, possibly, but not the main go-to guy.