No Jacksonville Jaguars has ever gained the NFL’s Rookie of the Year Award … but then once more, not numerous Jaguars rookies are like James Robinson.
Robinson was named a finalist for the 2020 Pepsi Zero Sugar NFL Rookie of the Calendar year award in January, the cherry on top rated of what was a history-breaking rookie calendar year for the running back again. But what is most awesome about Robinson’s candidacy can be quickly observed when looking at his fellow finalists.
The other 4 finalists for rookie of the year? Chase Youthful (No. 2 overall), Justin Herbert (No. 6 in general), Justin Jefferson (No. 22), and Jonathan Taylor (No. 42). All but a person was a to start with-round select. All were being picked inside of the top-50. But Robinson was the exception — he gained a nomination for rookie of the 12 months as an undrafted free of charge agent, a exceptional honor.
“It implies a ton. It just exhibits that me not receiving drafted, it didn’t genuinely have an effect on me as a great deal, even while that was one of my major goals — to listen to my name referred to as,” Robinson informed Jaguar Report about the nomination.
“It just shows that I just continued to perform challenging and went out there and played football.”
Robinson entered the NFL with a faithful pursuing of admirers and coaches who observed him dominate at Illinois Condition and in the Illinois higher faculty football scene, but the undrafted jogging back again was not a family identify on a countrywide amount. Robinson created certain this modified with a file-breaking rookie time.
General, Robinson carried the ball 240 instances for 1,070 yards (4.5 yards for each carry) for 7 touchdowns. He led rookie managing backs in receptions (49) and landing receptions (three) whilst recording 344 yards. In 14 game titles, Robinson finished with 1,414 scrimmage yards (1,070 speeding, 344 acquiring), the most scrimmage yards by an undrafted rookie in the widespread-draft era. He was also the only rookie in the NFL to regular far more than 100 scrimmage yards per game this time.
Robinson’s fantastic production around the normal period earns him the difference of staying awarded for an award that previous jogging backs this sort of as Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, and Adrian Peterson have gained. Just becoming a applicant on your own places Robinson in unusual enterprise.
“Saquan Barkley, he just … that man is outrageous. He’s a freak of nature. But I signify, just remaining nominated for an award that he is gained and other men as nicely, it just implies that the draft is just a number, but you nonetheless obtained to go out there and play soccer and that is accurately what I did,” Robinson explained. “So that signifies a lot to be nominated for this.”
Robinson’s tricky style of engage in, remarkable do the job ethic, and no-nonsense angle speedily gained him the regard of his teammates, coaching staff members, and even opposing gamers.
Through the yr, opposing defenders would remark soon after the sport how tricky it was to defend Robinson. His fellow offensive players this kind of as Gardner Minshew, Mike Glennon, and Collin Johnson under no circumstances shied away from his relevance to the offense, both.
As a end result, it was no surprise to see Jaguars gamers and coaches proclaim it was a error for the Pro Bowl to not incorporate Robinson as 1 of the AFC’s three jogging backs.
“I imply, those people are my fellas and I know they acquired my back again. I know A lot of them have been fairly upset about it — me not obtaining in the Professional Bowl. But I suggest, I are unable to handle that, but I am glad like, they have things to say about it,” Robinson reported.
“They generally tell me what a excellent year I had and every little thing. But which is what I was meant to do. Come out there and have a excellent yr, due to the fact I definitely have no excuses to have a negative one particular.”
That variety of resolve is a major part of what manufactured Robinson so effective as a rookie. It is also a key variable in him climbing from the ranks of an unidentified undrafted rookie performing for a location on the roster to one of the NFL’s most productive operating backs.
Since of this, foreseeable future undrafted players have a new player they can glimpse to as a design for achievement and executing points the suitable way. Just as previous undrafted good results tales like Dominic Rhodes and Phillip Lindsay were purpose styles for undrafted players after them, Robinson will without doubt be a shining case in point for all those who arrive into the league right after him.
“There are a large amount of guys out there that weren’t drafted that I know will probably make a title for them selves really quickly. It suggests a whole lot to signify the undrafted men,” Robinson explained. “And I indicate, I would just like to thank the enthusiasts for nominating me for this award.”