Denard Robinson deserves a ton of credit for being willing to switch positions in the NFL after being a quarterback in college. But his role as a rookie with the Jacksonville Jaguars this year went from undefined, with the team officially listing him as an “offensive weapon” coming out of training camp, to minimal (20 carries for 66 yards) as he failed to maintain a role as the No. 2 running back.
Robinson will enter the offseason working exclusively as a running back, which has to be a positive development overall, but what does it mean for his fantasy value?
The Jaguars’ running back depth chart has a chance to look significantly different next season, with Maurice Jones-Drew, Justin Forsett and Jordan Todman all potentially gone. Jones-Drew is the least likely to be back, since he surely wants a multi-year deal, but Forsett is coming off a dismal season and Todman does not look like a starting caliber back right now. So based on that potential re-shuffling, barring any significant offseason moves, Robinson is in line for a bigger role in 2014.
Robinson’s physical build (5’11″, 199 lbs.) is not that of a quintessential workhorse running back, but that should not prevent him from being a difference maker going forward with fewer and fewer of those kind of backs around the league. The Jaguars simply need to find a way to get the ball in his hands more, after he did not catch a pass as a rookie and only returned four kickoffs, and the team’s offensive coaches should have Robinson’s development as a running back high on their list of offseason priorities.
Robinson’s value in re-draft leagues is to be determined, but he could become draftable in 12 and 14-team leagues between now and August if the Jaguars seem ready to make him a primary part of their offense. Owners in deep dynasty leagues can consider him a good option based on his potential, but that means taking an optimistic view of Robinson’s outlook going forward and that has to be based on the assumption of a seamless transition to being a running back full-time.