General manager David Caldwell took a risk when he drafted former Michigan quarterback Denard “Shoelace” Robinson in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Most analysts expected Robinson to be converted to wide receiver, but Caldwell took him with the idea of playing him at running back.
After a relatively disappointing rookie campaign, big things are expected of Robinson in his sophomore season. The most concerning part of his rookie struggles were his drops, but recent news might explain why he had so much trouble with the ball. Robinson was apparently still recovering from a nerve injury to his hand from college.
Caldwell said the injury is why Robinson didn’t finish his senior year at Michigan playing quarterback – he took a hit to the elbow and damaged the nerve.
Nerve injuries are very difficult to predict as far as recovery time, and Robinson’s injury hampered him to the point where he couldn’t keep his hand open.
If Robinson tried to spread his hand out, it would quickly close back up, the fingers touching each other.
Thankfully Robinson seems to have made a full recovery this offseason, and he should be primed for a big year.
“With the time off this off-season and a lot of work, it came back for him.”
– David Caldwell
The departure of veteran Maurice Jones-Drew left a big hole at running back, and while Toby Gerhart is expected to pick up most of the slack, the Jaguars still need a dynamic, change-of-pace guy in the backfield to keep defenses on their heels. Robinson had a few flashes in his limited time as a rookie, and this offseason he could secure his role as the primary backup and 3rd down back.
– Daniel Lago