The Los Angeles Rams biggest move this offseason was the signing of wide receiver Allen Robinson. However, to make this signing, the team also needed to cut Robert Woods. Cutting Woods wasn’t easy for Rams fans to digest – and for good reason. Without question, Woods is a Rams legend.
With that said, Allen Robinson is still a very good player. Robinson and Woods are both in the same tier of wide receiver in the NFL. Both players do certain things better than the other. For Woods, that was a technician and run-blocking. It’s clear by trading Woods and signing Robinson, the Rams offense could be moving in a different direction. Below, I’ll go through things that Allen Robinson will bring to the table.
Throughout his career, Allen Robinson has been one of the best in the league in contested catches. Pro Football Focus only really started charting contested catches in 2016 and what that is has only gotten clearer. Robinson was credited with six contested catches in 2016 which ranked inside the top-10. He then missed the 2017 season with an ACL injury. Next is where you should get excited.
In his first season in Chicago, Robinson started to show just how dominant he could be when fighting for the football. He had 16 contest catches which ranked sixth in the NFL and his 59.3% contested catch percentage ranked fifth. In 2019, Robinson led the NFL in contested catches with 26 – tied with former Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay. His 63.4 contest catch percentage ranked third.
2019 wasn’t a one-hit wonder either. Robinson again led the NFL in contested catches in 2020 with 23. Robinson is simply a different kind of receiver than what the Rams have had. His three inches and 10-lbs that he has on Robert Woods will be felt.
There's no such thing as a 50/50 ball with @AllenRobinson.@RamsNFL | #RamsHouse pic.twitter.com/UrAGLVCopm
— NFL (@NFL) March 17, 2022
Matthew Stafford has had success in the past with players who did well in contested catch situations. He was the quarterback for Kenny Golladay and Calvin Johnson would have been up there as well. Marvin Jones surprisingly ranked fifth in the NFL in contested catches in 2017 and 2020.
While Stafford only had an aggressive throw percentage of 12.1% with the Los Angeles Rams which was the fifth-lowest in the NFL, he also had the fifth-highest number of turnover-worthy plays. Some of these were just throwing the ball up to his guy – one of which came in the Super Bowl to Van Jefferson.
Stafford now has a guy in Robinson who can go up and make that play.
Dominance in the Fourth Quarter
When it counts the most, Allen Robinson shows up. Last season, the Los Angeles Rams traded for quarterback who thrived in the fourth quarter. Being able to rely on that paid off as Matthew Stafford led the NFL in fourth quarter comebacks and had three back-to-back-to-back in the postseason.
Robinson also succeeds in the fourth quarter.
In 2020, Robinson’s 32 fourth quarter receptions tied for second in the NFL and his 400 fourth quarter yards ranked third. 17 of his 32 receptions went for first downs which ranked seventh. The same can be said about 2019. That season he had 28 fourth quarter captions which was inside the top-10 and his 20 first down receptions ranked fifth.
While some will of course point to the “Stat Padford” narrative of padding stats in garbage time, this is an area where the NFL’s top wide receivers dominate. Stefon Diggs, DeAndre Hopkins, and Justin Jefferson all ranked inside the top-10 in fourth quarter receptions in 2020.
Succeeded With Bad Quarterbacks
Last season, the Los Angeles Rams traded for a quarterback who couldn’t win because he played on bad teams. A similar story could be written about Allen Robinson. Throughout his career, Allen Robinson has had Blake Bortles, Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, and other middling quarterbacks throwing him the football.
The football world has seen the talent that Allen Robinson has. However, they’ve never seen that talent on a good team with a good quarterback who could take advantage of his talent.
Robinson is one of two wide receivers to have 1,000 yards receiving with Blake Bortles throwing the ball. Allen Hurns was the other, but Robinson had 1400 yards. That number is second all-time in Jaguars franchise history behind Jimmie Smith. Robinson is the only wide receiver to have 1,000 yards with Trubisky throwing the ball, and he did it twice. His 102 receptions in 2020 were the second-most in Bears history behind Brandon Marshall.
It’s one thing to be a one-hit wonder on a bad team with a quarterback and not take that success elsewhere. However, Robinson has done that twice. He now has the quarterback and the offensive head coach to maximize his talents.
Robinson missed the Jaguars’ playoff run in 2017 with his ACL tear. However, he got a taste of the playoffs in 2019 with the Chicago Bears. In a game that is now known for the “double-drink”, Robinson had 10 receptions for 143 yards.
In that game, Robinson scored the go-ahead touchdown to put the Bears up 15-10. As we know, the Eagles took the lead with less than a minute left. On the final drive, Robinson had all 33-yards of offense for the Bears to put them in field goal range. and scored a go-ahead touchdown to put the Bears up 15-10 in the fourth quarter.
It was a historic playoff performance, especially in the fourth quarter that unfortunately wasn’t rewarded.
Robinson had six receptions for 55 yards in a loss against the Saints the following season, but again, it led the Bears and his six receptions were the second-most in the game.
Well-Rounded Wide Receiver
There’s a reason that Allen Robinson was once considered a fringe top-10 wide receiver. It’s not because he does just one thing well. He does a lot of things really well. The Los Angeles Rams will certainly miss Robert Woods in the run game and technique as a route-runner, Robinson also brings a lot.
Robinson separates really well and because of this, he’s able to get open in the middle of the field. In 2020, Robinson ranked fifth and sixth in receptions and yards in the intermediate area of the field (between 10-19 yards). The year before, he ranked fourth in the NFL in receptions of 20 or more yards with an average depth of target of 26.9 yards. Robinson can get open and make plays at all levels.
As mentioned, he’s able to do this because of his ability to separate, his clean footwork, and ability to manipulate defenders with body movement to sell fakes. He has a tendency to round-off routes and doesn’t have game-breaking speed. However, he does so many other things really well. While he’s not the blocker that Robert Woods was, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t willing. In 2019 and 2020, he had the fourth-most run-blocking snaps.