2022 Dynasty Draft Profile: Brian Robinson Jr


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2022 Dynasty Draft Profile: Brian Robinson Jr

To kick off each dynasty profile from the 2022 skill position draft class, a dated positional ranking will be presented, relevant to that prospect’s position. As the profiles have been published, the rankings have evolved. The number of RBs that are either declared underclassmen or seniors exhausting their eligibility – at least the ones that have publicly declared their intention to pursue a career in the NFL – currently stands at 98. And that is far from an exhaustive number since I’ve filtered out all of the backs who have zero chance of being drafted from the very long list testing at a collegiate Pro Day. Without further delay, here are the newly-expanded top-20 RB rankings from the 2022 class as of publication:

Class RankPlayerCollegeAge
RB1Breece HallIowa State20.7
RB2Kenneth Walker IIIMichigan State21.3
RB3Isaiah SpillerTexas A&M20.5
RB4Rachaad WhiteArizona State23.1
RB5James CookGeorgia22.4
RB6Kevin HarrisSouth Carolina21.3
RB7Kennedy BrooksOklahoma23.4
RB8Pierre Strong Jr.South Dakota State23.2
RB9Hassan HaskinsMichigan22.3
RB10Brian Robinson Jr.Alabama22.9
RB11D'Vonte PriceFIU22.6
RB12Bryant KobackToledo22.9
RB13Dameon PierceFlorida22.0
RB14Tyler BadieMissouri22.0
RB15Zamir WhiteGeorgia22.4
RB16Ty ChandlerNorth Carolina23.8
RB17Abram SmithBaylor23.4
RB18Kyren WilliamsNotre Dame21.5
RB19Jerome FordCincinnati22.4
RB20Tyrion Davis-PriceLSU21.9

Expectations have always been high for Brian Robinson Jr. For a kid that hit six feet in height as a 16-year-old, nobody can be blamed for mistaking the kid for a man in high school. A western Alabama native, Robinson collected his early coaching from Sam Adams at Hillcrest High. Information is oddly difficult to come by prior to his senior season but, after some investigative work, it was discovered that Brian ran for 447 yards and four TDs on 29 carries (15.4 YPC!) in an early-season 41-40 loss to Clay-Chalkville High during his junior season in 2015. That yardage total stands as the eighth-most in a single game in Alabama HS history. A mere eight days after submitting that effort, Burton Burns, former recruiting director and one of the top assistant coaches in the country, reached out to Robinson to offer him a full scholarship to play ball for the Crimson Tide.

Robinson took Hillcrest to the 6A semifinals in both of his final two HS seasons. His ‘15 season did not end on a high note, enduring an embarrassing 48-0 obliteration at the hands of Jake Bentley and Josh Johnson’s Opelika squad in the 6A semis. After accumulating 1,316 rushing yards and 15 TDs that season, Robinson took home Alabama First Team 6A All-State honors.

Unfortunately for Robinson, his high school career really followed a precipitous decline after that monster output in the third game of his junior season. He managed to run for 18 TDs as a senior, but the early evaluation claims as the top RB in Alabama holds little weight. The top RBs from the state of Alabama over the last 10 seasons, Kerryon Johnson, T.J. Yeldon, Ito Smith, Bo Scarbrough and — I’m going there — Troymaine Pope, have each proved to be NFL duds.

In recognition for his scoring prowess, Robinson did manage to land on the Alabama 6A Second Team All-State to close out his prep career. Carrying that ealy label to claim a unanimous four-star scouting representation, Robinson drew 10 Power Five Scholarship offers, six from FBS programs — Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss, Louisville, South Carolina and UA. However, born and bred in Tuscaloosa, Robinson only ever intended to attend his beloved Alabama.

Respective Testing from The Opening Finals Presented by Nike+
PlayerHeightWeight40-Yard DashPro ShuttleVertical
Brian Robinson Jr.6-foot-22164.624.3231.6
Najee Harris6-foot-32264.664.1632.2
Derrick Henry6-foot 22424.724.4737.5

Before we go any further, let’s address the elephant in the room. No, Robinson is not the next Derrick Henry. It’s not even close. Just for fun, let’s examine Brian alongside King Henry and Najee Harris with pre-college athletic testing submitted at their respective dates at The Opening Finals (table above). Before attempting to outline parallels between Robinson and Henry, take note of their considerable weight and vertical jump differences. Those two factors place several thousand miles in between their levels of athleticism. As for comparisons between Robinson and Harris, the difference in their pro shuttle times will come into play during Brian’s ‘21 tape evaluation.

Robinson concluded his ‘Bama career ranked 10th in school history in career rushing TDs (29), and 11th in career rushing yards (2,704). One statistic we’ll likely never see passed along is that Robinson is also the first player in Alabama history in seasons with at least 10 games played (five) during their career. Robinson took full advantage of the additional “super” year extended by the NCAA in response to the wacky COVID season of 2020. But Robinson also made the most out of that extra year of eligibility, earning Second Team All-SEC honors for leading the SEC in rushing TDs (14) and that number also tying for 19th-most in the nation.

Combine Measurement Percentiles (Last 10 Seasons)
Brian Robinson Jr.89th71st47th65th80th69th71st
Najee Harris87th81st81st93rd100th69th86th
Derrick Henry100th100th100th88th98th72nd33rd

Now that we have extensive measurements on the three Tide RBs, it’s plain as day that we need to look outside of Henry’s front porch for a comp – the BMI for B-Rob conclusively seals that exclusion. That said, while Robinson is clearly not built with the thickness of Najee, we cannot simply cross Harris off of the commensurable-list just yet. Unfortunately, we do not have pre-NFL athletic testing from Harris to carry that specific part of a comparison any further. We’ll have to rely on the tape.

As with all of the 11 RBs evaluated thus far, we’ll begin by pointing out some of Robinson’s clear strengths. Brian’s feet are built with a decent motor, churning butter whenever Robinson is able to build a little momentum. In a nutshell, he’s a scrappy YAC guy. At 6-foot-1 ½“ and 225 pounds, Robinson obviously presents as a physical presence on the field, fulfilling that expectation with the power and balance to create yardage for himself after contact. He drives his feet into and through defenders to appropriately fall forward, particularly in space.

Prospect Athletic Testing Percentiles (Last 10 Seasons)
Player40-Yard Dash20-Split10-SplitPro Shuttle3-ConeVerticalBroadBench
Brian Robinson Jr.55th54th55th9th*30th*17th57thDNP
Derrick Henry53rd44th36th39th42nd63rd87th60th

*From Alabama Pro Day on March 9th

If you consider yourself to be a Robinson truther to a fault, this may not be the profile for you since the truth will be represented. Robinson is built with below-average elusiveness. His feet are a mess, his hips and knees are stiff. Brian is very slow to gather — his feet will hop and slide when his brain tells them to cut back. Robinson just doesn’t have the athletic explosiveness to launch out of his frequent attempts at making sharp cuts. The best he can ask for from his sluggish jump cuts are in eluding over-pursuing LBs that have built a head of steam to fill their gap responsibility.

Brian Jr. unfortunately runs very, very high. He desperately needs to learn better knee bend, and quickly. His pad level in space is an issue, particularly since he roams the field with an alpha mindset and pays little attention to his peripheral surroundings. Robinson appears unconcerned with taking hits to either his core or to his long legs. BRJ very nearly tore up his left knee following that mentality on his second carry in Week 3 at Florida. Brian’s opportunity to headline the ‘Bama backfield very nearly ended before it began. If it’s not the most glaring concern in Robinson’s game, it’s next on the list. The durability of Robinson’s ribs, knees and ankles will be a significant issue throughout his career. Alas, that list of issues doesn’t end there.

Specific Blocking Specialty/Success
PlayerCollegeGap/ZoneSpecialtyCarry % (M)Rush Yd % (M)Rush TD % (M)
Brian Robinson Jr.AlabamaBothMan (M)12%11%36%

Robinson is at his best when he’s racing to the edge or bouncing off of indirect contact with impetus. But, running with that assertive mindset, Robinson is frequently slow to process the multiple moving parts up front while he’s working downhill. He will drive too many of his carries right into a swarm of defenders, leading to more stood-up carries than expected behind one of the top-five run blocking O-lines in the FBS. He will also crowd his blocking at times, so we can consider his patience as a work in progress. When he does practice patience, we see some of the best of Robinson. He must learn to consistently allow his moving blockers to work before exhausting his boost button.

Robinson might not fit all running schemes at the next level. If Robinson is type-cast into an inside attack – which is a considerable concern — count on seeing sub-4.0 YPC results in his future. Yes, Robinson’s body has all of the appearances of being built to attack between the boxes. But he wants so badly to bounce everything outside. Brian’s efficiency, long list of success doing so may seem to favor his incessant desire to attack the edge, he’s just going to face long odds of landing in that type of an offense.

Future Success Based on Collegiate Success
BlockingMesh Point
PlayerInside Zone (IZ)Outside Zone (OZ)ManPulling O-linemenRead OptionRPO
Brian Robinson Jr.🚫🚫

Robinson will likely need to land in a system where he’s given an intentional gap in order to outplay his evaluation. He’s just not the same, consistently physical back when working between the tackles. However, Brian understands what he needs to do to set up defenders. That’s exactly why gaining some momentum is vital to his approach.

Nearly unavoidable, Robinson is destined to land in a role where he’s asked to grind down defenses week-after-week. In six ‘21 games where Robinson carried the ball at least 20 times, he averaged 136.5 rushing YPG. That said, four of those outings ended with a YPC average below 5.0. Grinding saps efficiency. Already described in depth several times over, we see the best, most aggressive version of Robinson when he’s attacking the edge. But grinding down a defense is not accomplished by attacking its defensive backs on the perimeter.

Brian Robinson Jr.'s 2021 Rushing Breakdown
Gain% of Carries% of Yardage% of TDs
10-19 Yards12.2%33.9%7.1%
20-29 Yards1.8%8.9%0.0%
30+ Yards0.1%7.4%7.1%

Partly due to his below average athleticism preventing him from breaking away, Robinson struggles finding his way into explosive carries (table above). He needs to plainly see defenders coming at the second level in order to redirect his momentum, and was still all-too-frequently tripped up by a single defender. You see, tackles directed at his feet and ankles are Robinson’s clear Achilles heel. It’s after he takes contact to his lower base in the open field that we see Brian turn his concern to his ankles. It appears he would much rather go down than attempt to regain his footing out of a fear of injuring his ankles.

Najee Harris's 2020 Rushing Breakdown
Gain% of Carries% of Yardage% of TDs
10-19 Yards15.5%35.0%11.5%
20-29 Yards0.1%3.9%0.0%
30+ Yards2.4%16.5%15.4%

Jumping back to finding any symmetry between Robinson and Harris, you’ll find the rushing breakdown of Najee’s ‘20 season in the table above. In comparison, we see that Harris very nearly doubled up B-Rob in TD runs of at least 10 yards. However, we also see quite a few parallels. Harris’ legs are far more massive but, jumping back to their Combine body measurement table, they are similarly built and are both blessed with oven mitts for hands. One thing is for sure, like Najee, Robinson’s extensive experience in pass pro may circle his class several times over. Let’s stick a pin in this comparison for a bit.

Nobody can deny that Robinson’s physicality alone adds to his ability to shed, but we can also see in his film that he frequently padded his broken tackle numbers by succeeding in avoiding one tackle, before being taken down by another without a single yard added on to the run. On the other side of the spectrum, Robinson loses out on additional missed tackle numbers with zero examples where he utilizes any level of leaping to avoid the low tackles.

Brian Robinson Jr.'s Weight Gain History
YearClassSourceWeight (lbs.)
2015HS JuniorAHSAA213
2016HS SeniorThe Opening216
2017True FreshmanAlabama218
2018Redshirt FreshmanAlabama221
2019Redshirt SophomoreAlabama226
2020Super SophomoreAlabama226
2021Super JuniorAlabama225
2022DeclaredNFL Combine225

Nobody will ever question Robinson’s effort. He gives his everything on every carry… we just can’t see it as well when that hat is so high in the sky. Robinson is obviously, understandably very hungry after serving in a backup capacity for four full seasons. Without the necessary athleticism and packing around that large frame, Brian requires a considerable launching pad to alter his initial path. He has the escapability to slide away from early defensive penetration, but we see too much satisfaction in continuing on a lateral path rather than using his physicality to push off-design runs back downhill.

Robinson can’t help the fact that his offense, led by the massive talents of Bryce Young, gifted him with the opportunity to score exactly two-thirds of his 20 total TDs last season in goal-to-go (G2G) situations. But the fact that he walked into the end zone without anything more than a uselessly extended arm touching him on 64% of those TDs on the ground does lighten the shine on his SEC-leading number. Like in each of the dyno draft profiles to date, you’ll find Robinson’s numbers tabled alongside some of the top power backs in NFL history below:

Emmitt Smith2264,40919.518,35581.21640.735152.28
Shaun Alexander1232,18717.89,45376.91000.812151.75
John Riggins1752,91616.711,35264.91040.592501.43
Eric Dickerson1462,99620.513,25990.8900.622811.92
Earl Campbell1152,18719.09,40781.8740.641211.05
Franco Harris1732,94917.012,12070.1910.533071.77
Jim Brown1182,35920.012,312104.31060.902622.22
Adrian Peterson1843,23017.614,91881.11200.653051.66
Jerome Bettis1923,47918.113,66271.2910.472001.04
Marshawn Lynch1492,45316.510,41369.9850.572871.93
Brian Robinson Jr.787069.13,69447.4470.60760.97

*One season of data from Hillcrest High School and five seasons from the University of Alabama

If you can stomach ominous signs of things to come, watch Week 10 vs. LSU or either of the Tide’s postseason games against Georgia. In those three games, the Tigers and Bulldogs were all too aware that Robinson wanted to attack the edges. On 18% of his carries combined in those games, Brian attempted to drive to the outside. He managed 11% of his yardage total, an average of 1.8 YPC. Robinson was forced to focus his efforts inside the tackles. On his 42 interior carries, he was held to 125 combined rushing yards (2.98 YPC).

An NFL future for Robinson plodding his way to empty 60-yard games, potentially without useful receiving numbers inevitably comes to mind. And we can also count on BRJ being easier to tackle by competent NFL linebackers and, specifically when forced to work inside, by beefy defensive tackles.

Path to NFL Touches
PlayerEarly DownsShort YardageGoal LineChange-of-PaceUp-TempoPassing Downs
Brian Robinson Jr.🚫🚫

Before we eliminate receiving production from the equation, we need to address that final phase of his game. In five of his last seven seasons, Robinson has generated negligible production as a pass-catcher. Robinson’s hands are stiff. He is most comfortable catching passes with his body. When targets force the use of his hands, he will fight the ball. But that doesn’t mean he’s unable to handle a reasonable level of pass-catching responsibilities.

Similar to last season after Jase McClellan – Alabama’s primary receiving RB – was lost to injury for the season in Week 5, Robinson’s clearest future path to significant passing game responsibilities will require an injury to the receiving specialist in front of him. Robinson went from catching 1 pass/game over the first four weeks, to an average of 3.1 receptions/game following the McClellan injury. Just do not expect Brian’s future team falling in love with the idea of relying on him as a receiver. Circling back to potential similarities with Najee, it’s crystal clear that Robinson’s receiving prowess is light years away from his multidimensional former running mate.

The film circles Robinson’s complete lack of explosion in red. Brian’s ninth-percentile pro shuttle time from the Combine (fourth table from the top) reinforces the poor footwork and his 17th-percentile vertical jump – perhaps one of his most significant red flags – underpins his dearth of explosiveness. We know his skill set thrives attacking the edges, and that his physicality shines when he’s able to build some momentum. He’ll most definitely find a consistent role in pass pro, so a touch of receiving production is definitely in the cards. However, his clearest path to dyno value is on early downs, short yardage, and as a goal-line back.

Unfortunately, even in standard formats, Robinson wouldn’t move up a single spot in the top-20 ranks. Completed evaluations of Rachaad White and James Cook – the two RBs that would seem to hold more PPR potential than standard – foretell the potential to develop into far more than situational backs. But the decision to bump Robinson over those two is entirely the decision of the beholder.

To be clear, Kennedy Brooks and Pierre Strong Jr. are considerably out in front of Robinson in regards to rushing talent. As for Hassan Haskins, unlike Robinson, the former Michigan product has explosiveness on reserve and is extremely more capable working between the tackles with every bit as much physicality. But Robinson is an excellent candidate to close out the top-10 RBs in the class. Just know that D’Vonte Price, Bryant Koback and Dameon Pierce are drafting directly behind, awaiting their own evaluation opportunities.

Brian Robinson Jr.'s Career Production
HS Junior?109.7?
HS Senior13.482.56.151.502.0025.20.1722.8
True Freshman2.215.06.880.
True Sophomore4.218.14.320.
True Junior7.433.94.590.380.859.50.007.5
Super Junior7.037.25.310.460.462.00.007.1
Super Senior19.495.94.961.002.5021.10.1421.1

2021 Video Recommendations: Week 3 at Florida, Week 5 vs. Ole Miss, Week 7 at Mississippi State, Week 8 vs. Tennessee, Week 10 vs. LSU, Week 12 vs. Arkansas, Week 13 at Auburn, SEC Championship vs. Georgia, CFP Semifinals/Cotton Bowl Classic vs. Cincinnati and CFP National Championship vs. Georgia

Optimal Landing Spots: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Chargers and New Orleans Saints

Film Review Comp (2021): Kalen Ballage

Overall Comp (Factoring size, athleticism, tape and level of collegiate production): Jeremy Hill

With a dedicated focus on studying game film and a faithful commitment to metrics & analytics, Huber’s specialties include DFS (college and NFL), Devy & Dynasty formats, and second-to-none fantasy analysis of high school prospects.