Corey Davis. Mike Williams. John Ross. Those are arguably the three biggest names in the 2017 NFL Draft class of Wide Receiver and for good reason. Davis is the all-around threat, Williams is the gigantic red-zone monster, and Ross is the deep-threat speedster. But the sleeper and overlooked guy who could greatly reward the team that picks him is Jalen Robinette, the senior Wideout from Air Force.
Robinette is listed at 6’4″ and 215 pounds; he’s the type of guy who you’d have come off the bus first. Despite playing in a triple option offense while at Air Force, Robinette regularly showed off his tremendous skillset for a receiver his size. He has great speed as a long strider, almost deceptively fast for CBs who give him cushion. He’s also shown some good change of direction ability, especially in his route-running, one of the best facets of his game. Robinette is a triple threat when it comes to running routes; good head fakes and shoulder leans to disguise his routes, excellent hand technique and strength to defeat jams, and explosive when dropping his hips to get into his breaks.
The Air Force senior also has good hands with the ability to come down with the most difficult of contested catches. He high points the ball well and uses that 6’4” frame to out-rebound defenders for the ball like a Power Forward. And once the ball is in Robinette’s hands, he doesn’t go down easily, using good leg drive to power through tackles. It also should not be overlooked that he is the type of aggressive and technically-sound run blocker that will endear him to coaches right away.
Still, there are some flaws in Robinette’s game that will likely limit his overall ceiling. Chief among them is that he is not a natural hands catcher and will allow some passes to get into his pads and even double catch or bobble some. Generally, Jalen Robinette is reliable when the ball is thrown in his direction but he does need to do a better job of extending his arms out to snatch the ball. Playing in a triple option offense also means that while his blocking game is polished, his route running is not. At the NFL level he’ll need to learn to run more routes than just posts, corners, and go’s.
In short, Robinette is a height/weight/speed specimen who is also very polished in what he has been able to do at Air Force. His biggest problem is that Air Force is far from a traditional offense and the type of scheme he’ll run in the NFL. I compared Robinette to former Georgia Tech and current Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas and I think it’s an almost scary-accurate comp. Both Thomas and Robinette came from triple option offenses and were height/weight/speed guys. Both did have issues with route variety and not quite being natural hands catchers; Thomas still has drops issues today and it has led to Emmanuel Sanders taking over as the lead receiver in Denver. Robinette hasn’t been talked about much but seems to be a late Day 2-early Day 3 option among draft media. In my opinion, Robinette’s value is in the second round. I think Robinette can be a high-end No. 2 WR at the next level with a ceiling as a mid-range no. 1 option.