2015 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Mississippi State RB Josh Robinson

As we delve further into the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason, our attention has begun to shift towards the draft. Like we’ve done all offseason, these reports will cover the prospects of the 2015 NFL Draft, placing an emphasis on those who could help the Steelers the most.

Profiling the running back I had the team selecting in my latest mock draft. Mississippi State’s Josh Robinson.

#13 – Josh Robinson/RB Mississippi St: 5’7/7 217

The Good

– Short but not small, dense body with thick lower half and big hands (10 1/8 inches)
– Tremendous lower body strength and leg drive, extremely difficult to bring down
– Powerful, carries bigger defenders and requires multiple hats to bring him down once he gets up to speed
– Consistently falls forward and churns out difficult yards
– Fearless, physical, big man mentality
– Shows ability to run through contact
– Quick feet through the hole, short-strider
– Excellent balance
– Size helps but able to get skinny through the hole, contort body and squeeze through
– Shows vision and ability to pick his lanes
– Downhill runner, doesn’t look to dance
– Maintains speed through his cuts, has lateral quickness, doesn’t slow down when changing directions
– Active participant in the passing game, performed well out of the backfield
– Production against top competition
– Doesn’t have wear and tear, starter for only one year
– Said to have grown, matured over time

The Bad

– Still will get knocked for his lack of height
– Height creates limitations, especially in pass protection, below average and can’t be trusted to square up, prefers and may be more effective cutting
– Lacks speed to win the edge, between the tackles runner, won’t be a fit for every scheme
– Did not time well at the Combine
– One gear player who does show initial acceleration but lacks second gear in open field
– May invite too much contact, take unnecessary blows
– Could stand to keep pads low, prevent upper body from being exposed on his cuts
– Decent hands but can’t be asked to make difficult grabs out of the backfield
– Will get enveloped by bigger defenders, goes down easily if not up to speed

Other

– 13 career starts, one year starter, left school a year early
– 2014: 1203 rushing yards, 11 TD, averaged 6.3 YPC and caught 28 passes for 370 yards
– 133 combined carries previous two seasons combined
– Ran for over 1100 yards and 20 touchdowns senior season of high school
– Difficult childhood, raised by his grandmother until he was 12, overcame a lot of adversity in his life

Tape Breakdown

I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t know a ton about the bowling ball from Mississippi State when I mocked him in my updated version the other day. I did, however, see this run against Kentucky, which made me very interested in learning more about Robinson.

That’s Robinson breaking six tackles in one play and dragging Bud Dupree to the ground at the end. Arguably one of – If not the – best individual efforts in the 2014 season.

The question is if those types of plays were consistent on Robinson’s tape. The answer is a resounding yes. Built like Maurice Jones-Drew, Robinson is a tough, hard-nosed runner who doesn’t go down easily. Keeps his lower half churning through contact, busting out of tackles or requiring gang-tackling before finally going down.

He dominated LSU to the tune of 197 yards rushing because of plays like this.

Runs through contact at the first level, shakes off a DB at the next level, and drags a couple more bodies before being wrestled down.

On the last GIF, the end zone angle shows how skinny Robinson was forced to get through the hole. He’s naturally aided by his size but adds to that by showing the ability to turn his shoulders into the hole, squeeze through, and maintain balance coming out.

Robinson1

Robinson2

Robinson3

He’s capable of running through contact, not just dragging the initial defender before going down.

I could produce an endless amount of GIFs that highlight this. My notes across the four games I watched are riddled with phrases like “tough run” and “physical.”

He is, however, a one gear runner who is a tick faster than the 4.7 he turned in at the Combine, but often lacks the burst to win the edge. Robinson fits a power or inside zone-dominant scheme but not one that frequently employs an outside zone, asking the back to reach the hip of the tight end. He isn’t a back that is going to thrive moving laterally.

There were times where Robinson was willing to square up in pass protection but too often he opted to cut block. And fail. Lack of height really works against him here. Misses badly out on the edge versus Auburn.

Given that the Steelers running philosophy centers around a power game and inside zone, Robinson is a great candidate. Plant, get downhill, quickly get up to speed, and make someone pay. He showed enough over his one year in the SEC and doesn’t come with the workload in college some other backs do. Robinson only has 323 career carries.

There were concerns over his ability to handle being out of the spotlight in college, biding his time behind Vic Ballard and LaDarius Perkins before becoming the star in 2014. But according to his coach, Robinson has matured as he’s gotten older. Something you’d hope for and expect.

I’ve only grown in my confidence of him after diving into his tape. This deep class and poor workout numbers push him down but only increase his value. Easy to overlook, literally and figuratively, but this guy has the makings of a Day Three steal.

Projection: Early-Mid 5th

Games Watched: at LSU, vs Auburn, at Kentucky, vs Alabama

Previous Scouting Reports

Maxx WilliamsP.J. WilliamsJavorius AllenAlvin Dupree
David CobbTyler KroftQuinten RollinsShane Ray
Trae WaynesBobby RichardsonVic BeasleyLynden Trail
Eric RowePreston SmithNate OrchardDavid Johnson
Amari CooperHau’oli KikahaJohn MillerLandon Collins
Gerod HollimanDante Fowler Jr.Rob HavensteinDerron Smith
Randy GregoryJalen CollinsClive WalfordLorenzo Mauldin
Ifo Ekpre-OlomuRandall EvansOwamagbe OdighizuwaCody Prewitt
Jacoby GlennKevin JohnsonKevin WhiteJesse James
Jay AjayiHenry AndersonXavier CooperT.J. Yeldon
Steven NelsonChris HackettCameron ErvingIbraheim Campbell
Alex CarterZack HodgesMarcus PetersBlake Bell
Eli HaroldJeremy LangfordDevin MahinaAnthony Harris
Shaq MasonJordan PhillipsTrey FlowersArik Armstead
DeAndre SmelterB.J. FinneySean HickeyLa’el Collins
Clayton GeathersJarvis HarrisonLorenzo Doss

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About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.