Last season, after the Jaguars released RB Leonard Fournette, then undrafted rookie free agent James Robinson took advantage of the opportunity. He started 14 games in 2020 and finished with 1,414 scrimmage yards (1,070 rushing, 344 receiving), the most scrimmage yards by an undrafted rookie in the common draft era. He was the only rookie in the NFL to average more than 100 scrimmage yards per game last season. His 1,070 rushing yards ranked second among rookies and fifth overall.
Robinson scored 10 total TDs (seven rushing, three receiving), which were tied for the fourth-most among rookies in the NFL in 2020.
This season, Robinson will have some competition. First-round pick RB Travis Etienne Jr. will be the mix as well as veteran RB Carlos Hyde.
“When they brought those guys in, I knew of them,” Robinson said on Thursday during OTAs in Jacksonville. “It’s really just I have to go out there and control what I can control, and once I get my opportunity, just make the most of it.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many things were virtual last season, and according to Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer, having players in person will benefit Robinson and the team.
“We’re keeping our distance from each other, but a team meeting is so much better than the Zoom,” Meyer said. “And I heard—I wasn’t coaching last year—but the horror stories about videos not being able to show videos, the technology wasn’t great. So, having them here in person has been fantastic. James Robinson is one of my favorite guys. I can’t name a harder worker right now on our team, and that started in January all the way through June now. So, I love that guy.”
Robinson added: “It gives all of us a lot of opportunities to learn the offense more instead of just being virtual and having to do it yourself. Getting to work with the quarterbacks and the new guys coming in, it helps all of us because if you’re just doing it on your own, you’re not really getting the work that you need. There’s certain coaching points that we need to know, and just having OTAs and being here helps out a lot.”
It should be interesting to see the role Robinson will have this season, but regardless of the role, it appears he will work hard to put himself in a position to succeed.