Jaguars RB James Robinson welcomes addition of Hyde and Etienne

Running back James Robinson #30 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)
Running back James Robinson #30 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports) /

It’s unlikely that the Jacksonville Jaguars thought James Robinson was going to be one of the best running backs in the NFL in 2020. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have waited until last year’s draft ended to sign him. So what did the Illinois State product do in his first year in the NFL? He went on to break the record for most scrimmage yards by an undrafted rookie in league history. Nevertheless, the Jags added Travis Etienne and veteran Carlos Hyde to their running back room this offseason.

Robinson racked up 240 yards for 1,070 yards with seven touchdowns and had 86 percent of the Jaguars’ total carries last season. He was highly effective but the Jaguars’ rushing attack saw a drop-off in production when the former Redbird missed the last two games of the year. Even with Robinson’s outstanding performance in 2020, Jacksonville’s running game ranked just 28th in yards and 31st in scoring. Thus, it made sense to add reinforcements.

Signing Hyde made sense, as he has starting experience and has been a very productive player throughout his eight-year career. On the other hand, the Jaguars surprised everyone when they took Etienne 25th overall in this year’s selection meeting. Looking back, Jacksonville could’ve addressed another position but decided to add someone with the potential to be a dual-threat on offense.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a formidable running back room.

While it’s uncertain how many carries Robinson will get this upcoming season, head coach Urban Meyer has stated that the sophomore will be an integral part of the running back room. So, how has he reacted to the addition of Hyde and Etienne?

In a recent sit-down with the local media, Robinson said that his relationship with Hyde is kind of like the one he had with Chris Thompson last year, “he’s an older guy that has been in the league for a while. Learning new things about the league, knowing how to take care of yourself. Knowing when to go, when to tone things down. He’s given me a lot of points.” Robinson also talked positively about the addition of Etienne, ‘he asks questions all the time, he’s a good guy to talk to and he’s great, him and Trevor [Lawrence]’.

Speaking of Lawrence, Robinson likes what he’s seen even though it’s been a small sample. He describes the quarterback as someone that likes to work, “seeing him in practice. It’s just like that’s Trevor Lawrence, just watching him play, he can throw really well, he’s got some speed too”.

Robinson believes everyone is meshing very well and adds that everyone is just trying to learn the offense at this moment. Regarding his role with the team, he says he has to go out there and control what he can control, “once I get my opportunity, just make the most of it”. The Jaguars have a formidable running back room. Even if they weren’t ranked among the best units in the NFL, they will surely be a strength in 2021.

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