The Jacksonville Jaguars have a dynamic running duo in James Robinson and Travis Etienne. Although the former totaled 1,414 scrimmage yards last year, the team’s brass thought that the latter can have an immediate impact on their offense. Could the former Tiger make Robinson expendable?
Brad Gagnon recently drew up a list of one player each NFL team should trade. Surprisingly, quarterback Gardner Minshew’s name didn’t pop up and Robinson got the nod for the Jaguars instead. Gagnon points out that the Illinois State product was a surprise start in his rookie campaign. However, he believes Jacksonville will make Etienne the focal point of the offense after taking him 25th overall in this year’s draft.
Gagnon thinks that even though Robinson is an inexpensive insurance policy, the Jags may be better off training him before he loses value. The reasoning behind potentially dealing him right now is that the second-year running back will lose value moving forwards, “simply because he won’t get as many opportunities to shine”.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are better off keeping James Robinson.
Robinson was a revelation in his rookie campaign. If the Jaguars (or any other team for that matter) knew he was going to turn out to be a dynamic player, he wouldn’t have gone undrafted. Instead, the Illinois native quickly established himself as the lead back in Jacksonville and went on to tally 1,070 yards on 240 carries.
Now, drafting a running back in the first round of the draft isn’t generally a good decision. You can usually find a good one in the later rounds and you don’t invest much in one unless he’s Christian McCaffrey or Derrick Henry. On the other hand, the Jaguars thought E-T-N can give their offense a boost. They drafted him because he has the potential to be a dual threat, not because Robinson wasn’t good.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have room for both Robinson and Etienne.
Back at Clemson, Etienne hauled in 102 receptions for 1,155 yards and eight touchdowns. Furthermore, he averaged 11.3 yards per catch as a running back. The Jags surely expect him to make an impact in the passing game but that doesn’t mean they no longer need Robinson. Last season, the former Redbird had 86 percent of the team’s total carries, the most in the NFL. He showed he can carry the load and will still have a big role in Jacksonville this upcoming season.
Robinson missed the last two games of the 2020 season with an ankle injury and the Jaguars’ running game became stagnant. They now have superb depth after signing veteran Carlos Hyde in free agency and drafting Etienne.
Why would the Jags give away their running back depth? Also, they wouldn’t get premium compensation in exchange for Robinson. At most, they could get a third or fourth-round pick. At this point, a middle-round selection may not be of much use. The team’s brass already used all the draft picks former general manager David Caldwell hoarded and never got to use. Finally, the Jaguars won’t know how good Etienne will be until he takes the field in Week 1. Thus, parting ways with Robinson — someone who’s already proven he can get it done doesn’t — make sense.
There are a few players the Jaguars could trade before training camp but Robinson isn’t one of them. Even with Etienne’s arrival, he can still contribute in Jacksonville.