Dynasty Prospect Scouting Report: Brian Robinson
Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama
Height: 6’1 5/8”
40-yard dash: 4.53
Vertical jump: 30 inches
Broad Jump: 119 inches
Short Shuttle: DNP
That’s what it took for Robinson to see a meaningful role in the Crimson Tide backfield.
As a 2017 freshman, he played behind Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough, Najee Harris and Josh Jacobs.
The result? Only 24 rush attempts.
2018 wasn’t much different, as everyone minus Scarbrough returned.
Then in 2019, Jacobs and Damien Harris left for the NFL, boosting Robinson to the #2 spot. He chipped in with 5 scores on 96 attempts and saw his first action as a receiver (11-124).
Najee stuck around for 2020, keeping Robinson in a backup role. But because of COVID-19, an extra year of eligibility awaited Robinson if he wanted it.
And he did.
“For my decision to come back, I’ve seen many opportunities for me, as far as investing time into this year to become a better player – on and off the field,” Robinson said before last season. “Obviously, to have some improvements in my draft grade and whatnot. I just felt like there are many opportunities for me to win this year and I’m all in for it.”
The decision paid off in spades. HC Nick Saban trusted Robinson to handle 271 carries -- the most by an Alabama RB since 2015 (Derrick Henry). He played a whopping 740 snaps -- 2nd most in the nation among RBs.
#2 back Trey Sanders, meanwhile, saw only 72 carries (11 games).
Robinson missed 1 game with cracked ribs and played through a rib/hamstring injury in the National Championship vs. Georgia. Still, he was an ultra-productive rusher with 1,343-15 — plus a surprising 35-296-2 line out of the backfield. He earned Pro Football Focus’ 18th best rushing grade (361 qualifiers).
As you'd expect form a 225-pounder, Robinson flashed the ability to pick up tough yards. But did he prove to be just a one-trick pony?
Games watched: Texas A&M (2021), Arkansas (2021), Miami FL (2021), Cincidnatti (2021), Ole Miss (2021), Georgia (2021)
One thing to keep in mind here: Alabama didn't have the type of elite O-line you'd expect. PFF ranked them T-51st in the nation in run blocking grade.
Not horrible. Just...decent.
We also need to remember that Robinson played this past season at 22 years old -- 1+ years older than most college players. (He actually turns 23 on the 22nd of March.) So he should have been able to excel as a 5th-year player.
As for Robinson's tape, let's start here...
You don't want Robinson going east to west very often. But this first play is a great example of him turning nothing into something -- all because of plus power and effort. That's what routinely shows up with Robinson, game after game.
There's no shortage of nasty to Robinson's style. For you Cowboys fans and long-time fantasy players -- think former bruiser Marion Barber, who played at nearly the same weight as Robinson.
At times, Robinson would show impressive footwork -- especially for someone of his size. I just wouldn't call it a strength, especially projecting to the next level. Still, the clip above again shows his power -- this time in a short-yardage setting. It's easy to see him as at least a short-yardage/goal line option for his NFL team.
Credit Robinson for racking up 35 catches in 2021. He hit 3+ receptions 7 times.
While Robinson didn't fumble on the ground, he did post 2 drops. And the clip above show both some good and bad: Robinson's solid build-up speed and his hands that still need some work.
Robinson didn't earn high marks from PFF as a pass protector. But he certainly has the tools to develop into a capable player in that area.
Grading the tape, NFL.com's Lance Zierlein comps Robinson to Chris Carson.
In terms of size and athleticism, he comps very similarly to Royce Freeman.
Odds are, Robinson's career will fall somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. At 225 pounds, he's a no-doubt power back who should enter the league fresh following only 1 starting season. While there's work to do in the passing game, I don't think he's necessarily on a Damien Harris-like trajectory.
Ultimately, we'll learn a lot more about Robinson's future upside in next month's draft. For now, though, most outlets anticipate the Tuscaloosa native coming off the board late in Round 3 or Round 4.