09 Jun Preseason Scouting Notes: Brian Robinson Jr., RB, Alabama
Senior | 6’0″ | 226 lbs | Tuscaloosa, AL
A thick running back with a running motor and contact balance who puts his toughness and durability on display and does the dirty work
Brian Robinson Jr. has played in multiple schemes throughout his collegiate career. He will be going playing for his third different Offensive Coordinator in four years at Alabama. Most recently, he played in a zone blocking scheme with Steve Sarkisian as the OC, whose motto is “run first, pass second.” He has seen consistent playing time throughout his entire career with the Crimson Tide (39 games played), but has not yet had the opportunity to suit up as a starter. Robinson has mostly been used in short yardage situations to pick up tough first downs. He was second in every rushing statistic for Alabama during the 2019 campaign, only behind Najee Harris. He ended his junior season with a total of 441 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns. Robinson is looking to finish his career with the Crimson Tide on a strong note, while being a 1-2 punch in the backfield with Harris.
– Has a low center of gravity that allows him to keep his balance and stay on his feet after first contact
– Protects the football by keeping it high and tight
– Dependable as a target out of the backfield with his natural catching ability
– Willingness to be a blocker downfield
– Makes defenders miss in the open field
– Awareness: sees defenders coming from his peripheral view
– Lowers shoulder to embrace big hits
– Quick, precise steps to navigate through the tight spaces around the line of scrimmage
– Uses his low center of gravity to anchor himself while absorbing incoming contact in pass protection. He is not the biggest player on the field, but his thick build allows him to hold his own while protecting his quarterback.
Areas to Improve:
– Decision making is questionable. Has a habit of making the wrong decision when picking which hole to run through. He second guesses himself, which leads to short gains or even a loss of yardage.
– He doesn’t know when to bite the bullet and step out of bounds or embrace being tackled after gaining positive yardage, even if it’s a short gain. Trying to force a big play by dancing around when nothing is available often results in a minimal gain.
– Can be antsy and impatient while waiting in the backfield for a hole to open up
– Lacks big-play ability. Doesn’t have top end speed
It is hard to determine where Robinson will fall in draft rankings because of the minimal workload he has been given. He’s spent his entire collegiate career coming off the bench behind other more productive running backs, such as Najee Harris. He is more effective in the pass game compared to the run game at this point. His ability to catch out of the backfield (though he’s had minimal opportunity) and willingness to block for his teammates are valuable attributes. Given what we know through his first three seasons, Robinson is likely to be a backup in the NFL while seeing time on special teams.
What to Watch for in 2020:
Will Robinson improve his decision-making skills as a runner? Can he trim down the amount of dancing around he does in the backfield? Big plays will come at the right time and with patience, but Robinson needs to stop second guessing himself so often and go with his gut instincts once he gets the ball in his hands. Knowing that Harris is staying for the 2020 college season, Robinson is going to need to work extra hard to prove himself to not only his coaches, but also teams at the next level. It’s healthy competition between two teammates, but if Robinson wants to build his draft stock, he is going to need to make the most of his given opportunities.