With the selection of Travis Etienne in the first round, James Robinson’s future with the Jacksonville Jaguars is now in doubt. These three teams could be in the market for the sophomore running back.
James Robinson had a great rookie campaign for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020. The Illinois State product appeared in 14 games and had 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Moreover, he totaled 1,414 scrimmage yards, the most for an undrafted rookie in NFL history. Despite the fact that the Jags lost 15 straight games last season, Robinson gave fans a reason to watch an otherwise dreadful team.
All of this made the selection of running back Travis Etienne in the first round of this year’s draft even more surprising. Is the Clemson product a good player? Yes, very much so. However, the Jaguars were not thought to be in the market for his talents. Jacksonville is certain to justify this selection by giving the rookie the ball in all facets of the game. After all, he has the potential to be a dual-threat at the NFL level. His relationship with Trevor Lawrence — they were teammates at Clemson — will only help his outlook.
For the time being, Jacksonville will most likely have a running back committee with Etienne having a big role in the passing game. This luxury will be available to the Jaguars due to the lack of money tied to Robinson’s rookie contract.
However, Robinson is a talented player who, after last season, knows his value to an offense. A scenario where he grows tired of a backup role might not be all that far-fetched. Getting a big return for the second-year running back is unlikely, but if the Jags could turn the Illinois native into a third or fourth-round pick, that would be a win for the team as a whole.
These three teams could be in the market for the Jaguars’ running back.
1. Atlanta Falcons
For the Falcons, their running back group is a strange one. The starter is newly added Mike Davis who had several solid games in relief of Christian McCaffery last season in Carolina. The journeyman back had 642 yards in 2020. Behind him is a versatile weapon in Cordarrelle Patterson.
The former first-round pick is not even a true running back. James Robinson is a comfortably better player in all aspects than both of these players. He had 428 more yards than Davis last season despite playing in fewer games. As Atlanta looks to get younger on offense, this is a move that they should look into.
2. Buffalo Bills
One of the most fun offenses in the league, the Bills are a true starting running back away from contending for the league’s best offense. Currently, Buffalo has Devin Singletary and Zack Moss leading the way in the backfield. Both of those players are stellar ball carriers in their own right, but Robinson would help take this offense to new heights.
In 2020, the former Redbird had just 98 yards less than Singletary and Moss combined. A team that’s in win-now mode, this move would make a lot of sense.
3. Los Angeles Chargers
In a season where Austin Ekeler suffered through injuries, the Chargers likely missed former starter Melvin Gordon. While the 2015 first-round pick is long gone, LA could look to add another ball carrier in Robinson.
For the Chargers, Robinson would be a starting-caliber back if Ekeler were to miss more time while also forming a fantastic one-two punch. Building an explosive offense for Herbert to engineer is the biggest goal in Los Angeles and this would go a long way in doing so.