Denard Robinson Is a Top-3 Running Back


Denard Robinson managed just 60 rushing yards on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. The Jacksonville Jaguars just stopped handing him the ball in the second half of the game, limiting him to just 15 carries at a healthy four yards per attempt average. He still managed to tack on two touchdowns (one in garbage time) but that isn’t enough for a quality back like Robinson.

So, just how quality is Denard Robinson? We’ll turn to Pro Football Focus’ excellent numbers to find out.

Those 60 yards are his lowest total since he’s been the starting running back for the Jaguars (week 7).

In the four games Robinson has started he has averaged 97 yards and change and one touchdown per game.

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So just how good is that?

Over the past four weeks Robinson has cemented himself in the conversation of best backs in the league. His 389 yards over the past four weeks is third behind DeMarco Murray (448 yards and the gold standard at running back in 2014 and possibly in history) and Mark Ingram (408 yards).

Robinson is tied with Murray in yards per attempt (5.4) at fourth best in the league among running backs with over 10 rushing attempts in those four weeks.

Denard Robinson’s four touchdowns also put him in the top three over that period, falling behind just Marshawn Lynch (six) and Jamaal Charles (five). Robinson’s four touchdowns are just ahead of a massive tie at three including Chris Ivory, Matt Asiata, Alfred Morris, Ronnie Hillman, and Ingram.

Because of Robinson’s major success at rushing he has been getting fed the ball (though not enough) earning the fifth most reps in the league at 72.

Where Robinson has not excelled at running back is in breaking tackles (32nd with three) and yards after contact (seventh with 155). But if you’re able to put up impressive numbers without having to break tackles, all the better. It may just keep Robinson fresher than his contemporaries. Lynch (21), Ingram (16), and Murray (14) are the top three in broken tackles over the past four weeks.

I use the word contemporaries intentionally. Robinson has put himself in that conversation, he is being judged along the likes of Murray, Ingram, and Lynch, all of whom have been excellent running backs this season and two of whom have been consistently good backs over their careers.

Robinson is taking the league by storm and he deserves to be in the conversation for best backs in the league. Right now he’s high enough in many rankings that calling him a top three running back is easy and warranted. Now, can he keep it up for the rest of the season?