3. James Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars running back
Despite the fact that former general manager David Caldwell wasn’t good at finding talent in the draft, you have to give him credit for discovering several undrafted gems throughout his eight-year tenure in Jacksonville. Running back James Robinson is arguably the best of the bunch.
The Jaguars might not have expected the Illinois State product to contribute right out of the gate. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have waited until 2020’s selection meeting ended to bring him aboard. In the end, Jacksonville ended up releasing Leonard Fournette, who was coming off the second 1,000-yard season of his career, before the start of the season and Robinson became their starting running back. In retrospect, the move paid off for both the team and “playoff Lenny”.
Fournette signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played a key role in their Super Bowl run. Meanwhile, Robinson was a revelation in his rookie campaign and racked up 240 carries for 1,070 yards and eight touchdowns. Moreover, he totaled 1,414 yards from scrimmage, the most by an undrafted rookie in NFL history.
Although the Jaguars drafted running back Travis Etienne in the first round of this year’s draft, Robinson will still have a big role in 2021. E-T-N could help the former Redbird stay fresh and in turn be more effective. Last season, the 22-year-old had 86 percent of the team’s total carries, the highest amount in the league. That’s simply too much. Expect Robinson to make the most of his chances this upcoming season and record his second 1,000-yard season even though he will be sharing the backfield.