Rich Tandler breaks down the new Redskins coaching staff
Mike Shanahan selected 21 players in the 2011 and 2012 drafts, and the seventeen who remain on the roster are set to enter a critical stage in their development. In the coming weeks, Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will take a look at what those players have accomplished thus far and what they still must do in order to solidify their status in the NFL.
Who: Aldrick Robinson
Position: Wide receiver
Draft year/round/pick: 2011/6/178th
Career to date: The speedy Southern Methodist product spent the majority of his rookie season on the practice squad and did not take a snap on offense in 2011.
In 2012, Robinson suited up for 15 games (he was sidelined one game after a freak pre-game collision with Brandon Meriweather) and put together an intriguing but uneven campaign. He started strong, hit a lull, caught touchdown passes in consecutive games, then wasn’t targeted once in the final five regular season games or in the playoff game.
This season went the opposite way for Robinson. After recording just six catches in the first 12 games, he hauled in 12 balls over the final four contests as he stepped in for the injured Leonard Hankerson and earned a bigger role in the offense.
No longer just a “take-a-shot guy,” Robinson got a chance to run a variety of routes and play in different situations. As a result of the increased playing time, he ended up setting career highs for receptions (18), targets (46), yards (365) and first downs (14). Just as important, though, Robinson showed that he’s worked hard to become a better route runner and student of the game.
Outlook for 2014: No one has ever questioned Robinson’s potential. But, as he enters his fourth pro season, it’s critical that he starts to maximize it.
With Jay Gruden taking over the offense, Robinson loses one of his biggest supporters in Kyle Shanahan, who was fired last month. But Robinson also gets a clean slate with Gruden and the new staff.
It should also be noted that Robinson plays a position that figures to see a lot of turnover this offseason. No. 1 receiver Pierre Garçon will be back. Robinson is an exclusive rights free agent, meaning he’s all but assured to return. After that, who knows? Hankerson will be coming off a major knee injury, while Josh Morgan and Santana Moss are set to become unrestricted free agents.
So there's going to be ample opportunity for Robinson to prove that last year’s late surge was no fluke.