2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Brian Robinson Jr.

Brian Robinson Jr.

A former four-star recruit out of Hillcrest Hill School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Brian Robinson Jr. was the 257th overall player in his class and the 18th at his position. He ultimately landed at the University of Alabama in 2017. Buried on the depth chart during his first three seasons with the Crimson Tide, he struggled to earn playing time behind Najee Harris, Damien Harris, and Josh Jacobs. Securing the chance to start during the 2021 season, the 23-year-old shined for the team. Highlighted by his breakout game against Ole Miss, where he ran for 170 yards and four scores, Robinson finished 15th in the nation in rushing yards with 1,343. Along with this, he also added 396 receiving yards while recording 16 total touchdowns.

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Player Bio

Name: Brian Robinson
Jersey: No. 4
Position: Running back
School: Alabama
Class: Senior
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 226 lbs

Games Watched: Ole Miss (2021), Texas A&M (2021), LSU (2021), Georgia (2021)

Major Injury History: None

Vision (12/15)

A prototypical one cut power back, Robinson runs with good vision. He understands the scheme in front of him and can find the hole created by his offensive line. Along with this, he also has the ability to get up in between the guards while lowering his shoulder and using a jump cut move to create space and daylight. Not an overly creative player by any means; he will focus on getting upfield when rushing while not looking to bounce the play outside and hit a home run.

Contact Balance (7.5/10)

A well-built player, Robinson has a thick frame that allows him to shake arm tackles of opposing defenders. He led the SEC in 2021 with 79 forced missed tackles in 2021. Not afraid to finish off the play, the senior will lower his pads and use a leg drive to run through his opponent. Needing some refinement to his footwork; on some plays, a defender was able to bring him down by grabbing at his legs.

Explosiveness (6/10)

Lacking true game-breaking explosiveness out of the backfield, Robinson does not have the burst to pull away from opposing defenders. The longest run of his college career went for 37 yards. Often running at the same speed through the first level, he does not have the elite quickness to hit the hole or beat his man to the corner. Destined to be a short-yardage back at the NFL level, he does not have the acceleration to be an every-down one-cut runner.

Long Speed (6/10)

Robinson clocked in at 4.53 seconds during the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Not a burner by any means, he is unable to get up to full speed quickly. A single gear player, he lacks a unique burst like other running backs in the draft class. This led him to become run down by an opposing defender on multiple plays.

Short Area Burst (6.5/10)

A patient runner, Robinson, can wait for blocks to develop in front of him before hitting the hole. Lacking a true burst in the short area, he does not have the breakaway speed to run past defenders in the open field to create a big play. Benefitting from his patented jump cut move, he can make an opposing defender miss as he works in between the tackles.

Change of Direction (6.5/10)

Lacking the ability to work his way out of trouble, Robinson does not have the athleticism to change directions and make multiple guys miss to get upfield. He often choose to take the ball upfield and hit the hole when wide-open cut-back lanes were present. Furthermore, he can sometimes become flat-footed, leading him to sink his hips and become stiff.

Power (8.5/10)

A powerful rusher, Robinson is a tough runner. He is capable of picking up yards in chunks with his size and length. Looking to get downhill in a hurry when taking a handoff, he plays with a strong knee bend and pad level. This allows him to lower his shoulder and finish off runs through opposing defenders. Best suited for short-yardage/goal-line duties at the NFL level, Robinson wears down opposing defenses throughout the game. Often it will take more than one player to bring him down.

Ball Security (9/10)

Sure-handed when carrying the football, Robinson holds the ball high and tight to his chest. He only fumbled the ball once during his 2021 campaign. The senior was lined up as a fullback against Texas A&M when a botched handoff caused him to put the ball on the ground.

Receiving Ability (6.5/10)

Developing as a pass catcher throughout his time at Alabama, Robinson was reliable for the Crimson Tide in the receiving game last season. He hauled in 35 receptions for 296 yards and two touchdowns while averaging more than eight yards per catch. Still looking to diversify his route tree, the one-time First Team All-SEC member runs simple combinations like swing routes and check downs. Possessing the ability to use his physical playing style as a rusher in the passing game, he can run over a defender or make him miss to keep the chains moving.

Pass Protection (4.5/5)

Widely regarded as one of the best in the class, Robinson is strong in pass protection. Helping to bail out Bryce Young on multiple plays last season, he uses his high football IQ to identify where the blitzer was coming from correctly. Along with this, he can square up his shoulders while also giving help to his offensive lineman up front.

Player Summary

Finally receiving the opportunity to be a featured back for Alabama’s offense, Robinson shined while handling the increased workload. He is best suited as an early-down thumper back at the pro level. Possessing the ability to wear down an opposing defense as the game progresses, look for the Cotton Bowl MVP to shine in a power running scheme where he gets to handle most of the carries. A good value pick for teams during the early parts of Day 3, he should be able to make an immediate impact as a rookie in a committee. Furthermore, he will also have added value in short-yardage situations and around the goal line due to his ability to lower his shoulder and move the pile.

Rookie Projection: Short Yardage/Rotational Back 

Third Year Projection: Possible Starter/Committee Back

Final Grade (73/100): Fourth-Round Pick

Player Comp: Gus Edwards

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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