Trading James Robinson get Jaguars surprisingly high grade

Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson #30 (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)
Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson #30 (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports) /

Some NFL trades seem inevitable while others catch everyone by surprise. The Jacksonville Jaguars sending running back James Robinson to the New York Jets in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft falls in the later category. The fact that it happened just hours after head coach Doug Pederson said the third-year pro was a part of what the team wanted to do on offense makes it even more confusing, so what grade did the Jags get in the aftermath?

Seth Walder of ESPN Analytics took it upon himself to grade every trade that’s been made before the No. 1 deadline and Jacksonville and the Jets a C+ and a B+, respectively, for Robinson. Walder argues that even though the former Illinois State Redbird “isn’t anything special in the receiving game“, he adds experience to the Jets’ running back room, having logged 2,177 yards with 18 touchdowns on 485 carries in 35 career games. On the other hand, Walder believes the Jags got good value.

"Travis Etienne Jr. is the Jaguars’ long-term answer at running back, so it likely wasn’t too difficult for Jacksonville to part with Robinson. To get a fifth-round for a backup running back who is coming off a serious injury is good value and a little piece of business. That’s true for all the reasons we outlined in the Jets section. There are so many talented running backs entering the NFL each year that finding a middle-class back is not difficult."

Walder does sort of have a point. It’s easier to find a good running back in the middle or later rounds of the draft than let’s say a quarterback or a top pass rusher. Heck, Robinson was an undrafted free agent, so the Jaguars should in theory be able to replenish their backfield next year.

Having said that, the Rockford, Illinois native was a proven commodity and one of their best offensive players. Here’s a thread by Laurie Fitzpatrick of Touchdown Wire made with some of Robinson’s highlights during his tenure with the Black and Teal.

The Jaguars could afford to trade James Robinson

James Robinson was respected in the Jags’ locker room and he was productive when he got the football, which is why fans aren’t really thrilled about watching him leave. Then again, it’s highly unlikely that the front office would have dealt if they didn’t have Travis Etienne and JaMycal Hasty in place. The former is averaging over 6.0 yards per carry while the latter showed burst when he broke off a 61-yard touchdown run against the Indianapolis Colts.

Without Etienne and Hasty in the backfield, the Jaguars wouldn’t have probably traded Robinson. Also, this presents an opportunity for rookie Snoop Conner to play. The former Ole Miss Rebel hasn’t been inactive for every game this season, so he should get some playing time moving forward.

Robinson has exceeded expectations after not getting his name called in the 2020 draft but it looks like he wasn’t in the organization’s long-term plans, so the Jaguars traded him when his value was at its highest. That’s the nature of the business and the team did what was in their best interest moving forward. Time will tell if they made the right call.

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