If you look at snap data from the Washington Redskins 2012 season, you will probably notice something odd.
|Player||Snaps/Gm||Salary (via Sports City)|
|Josh Morgan||43||$ 1,800,000|
|Leonard Hankerson||34||$ 465,000|
|Santana Moss||28||$ 2,650,000|
|Pierre Garcon||27||$ 2,100,000|
|Aldrick Robinson||14||$ 390,000|
What did you see? Were you surprised that Josh Morgan was the most heavily used WR? Were you intrigued to see that Leonard Hankerson had such a large role and is perhaps on his way to becoming a third year breakout receiver? Here’s what catches my eye: The Redskins have three receivers being paid at least $1.8 million each, another receiver who they drafted with the 78th pick, and then some second year guy being paid the league minimum who they liked enough to get on the field 14 times per game, or 207 times for the season. Yes, what catches my eye is Aldrick Robinson and the fact that the Redskins seem to be going out of their way to get him on the field. Sure, this could be a result of injuries, but maybe it’s also foreshadowing of a possible breakout player. So the question then becomes: Who is Aldrick Robinson? The short answer might be that he is RG3′s emerging big-play threat, like a pro version of Kendall Wright.
To set the stage for this theory, consider the following:
|Player||Ht.||Wt.||40 yard||Bench||V Jump||B Jump||Shuttle||3 cone|
With the exception of being a fraction smaller, Aldrick was a superior athlete to Kendall Wright coming out of college. And, while he probably hasn’t gotten any taller, it seems likely that Robinson has bulked up during his first two pro seasons. To help process this information another way, consider the graphs from MockDraftable.com.
Kendall Wright made a living catching the deep ball from RG3 in college. Given Robinson’s similar profile, is it that hard to imagine him playing a similar “take the lid off” role in the Redskins offense? At his size, it’s not like they’re running him out there to run block. Plus, when looking at the college data, you can see them each posting a strong 10.5+ yards per target, indicative of their big play potential.
Criticize their small frames if you want, but both demonstrated an ability to win the ball in the red zone. This is even more impressive to me in that they are dual threat receivers, connecting on both the big plays and near the goal line. (Hint: anything over 30% is good; 40%+ is rare)
The similarities continue if you look at their career graphs. You should conduct your own experiment using the awesome RotoViz tool in that link.
The final piece of the puzzle is what Robinson did in those 14 snaps per game; he made big plays. Consider the following chart, which shows the ratio of 20+ yard catches relative to total catches. (min 10 receptions)
|Joe Morgan, WR||NO||10||379||37.9||3||8||80.0%|
|Ramses Barden, WR||NYG||14||220||15.7||0||6||42.9%|
|Brandon Tate, WR||CIN||13||211||16.2||1||5||38.5%|
|Aldrick Robinson, WR||WSH||11||237||21.5||3||4||36.4%|
|LaVon Brazill, WR||IND||11||186||16.9||1||4||36.4%|
|Vincent Jackson, WR||TB||72||1,384||19.2||8||24||33.3%|
|Calvin Johnson, WR||DET||122||1,964||16.1||5||40||32.8%|
|Torrey Smith, WR||BAL||49||855||17.4||8||16||32.7%|
|Cecil Shorts, WR||JAC||55||979||17.8||7||17||30.9%|
|Demaryius Thomas, WR||DEN||94||1,434||15.3||10||29||30.9%|
Yes, the sample size might be small, but when searching for breakout players, you need to see some record of production. Besides, aren’t you a little impressed to see him above Vincent Jackson, Calvin Johnson, Torrey Smith, Cecil Shorts, and Demaryius Thomas?
Aldrick Robinson has the measurables and a proven track record of big-play production. The last piece of the puzzle is the opportunity. Is it that hard to imagine Santana Moss’ role being reduced for a 4th straight year before his contract expires after this season? Is it hard to imagine Pierre Garcon missing time with foot issues? What about the possibility that Josh Morgan isn’t resigned after this year? I’m not sure if or when Aldrick Robinson will get his opportunity, but if he does, here’s guessing that he becomes RG3′s NFL version of Kendall Wright.