After a tumultuous career at University of Florida, Demarcus Robinson is on his way to declaring for the NFL draft. Before he does, his Florida Gators (10-3) battle the resurgent Michigan Fightin’ Jim Harbaugh’s (9-3) in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on New Years Day.
Robinson has an NFL wide receiver prototype body at 6-2 205 and is an electric athlete with 4.5 wheels. His problem has been keeping his head right off the field. If you check out the 2016 RotoViz Scouting Index Robinson is top-7 for wide receivers despite playing for one of the most anemic offenses in the NCAA, which shows the high ceiling that he is perceived to possess.
What worries me (and scouts more importantly) is that even with immense talent, Robinson has a massive downside. He’s been suspended every year of his college football career.
There was a search party sent out for the 2015 Florida Gators offense after quarterback Will Grier was suspended for the year before the LSU game on October 17. With Grier at the helm, Robinson never had less than three receptions in a game and averaged five catches for 55 yards and 0.3 TDs/game. The rest of the seven games of 2015 were marred by poor quarterback play and suspensions that cut his on field production to just 13 receptions for 175 yards and zero touchdowns total.
Let’s go back to his sophomore season in 2014 (his best statistical season) and see what kind of stats Robinson was putting up with two mediocre quarterbacks. The QB duo of Jeff Driskel and Treon Harris both threw for less than 2,000 yards each. I think 2014 is the true indicator of the ceiling he can have.
We all know numbers don’t tell the whole truth, but looking at Robinson’s game log from 2014 we see huge stat lines alongside rather pedestrian ones. Perhaps this is the result of mediocre QB play, but it’s hard to be certain.
The Next Level
Robinson is very close to being cast away as a “troubled college wide receiver that has amazing talent but just can’t figure it out off of the field” a la Dorial Green-Beckham and Justin Blackmon. We saw this season how DGB has seemingly turned a corner off the field and has produced nicely for the Tennessee Titans (30-528-3). We also recently saw Justin Blackmon have his second DUI in three years after being suspended indefinitely by the NFL. Robinson needs to go through a speedy maturation process to be successful at the next level, which not everyone can do.
Highlights of Robinson are reminiscent of a poor man’s Jordan Matthews. Although Matthews is an inch or two taller and about 15 pounds heavier, the two reportedly have a very similar style of play. Robinson’s open field quickness and route running is said to be similar to Matthews. His ability to make tough catches in traffic and make defenders miss in space are other qualities that cited in reference to Robinson.
In the NFL Matthews runs almost exclusively out of the slot whereas Robinson ran most of his routes on the outside at Florida. It’d be interesting to see Demarcus Robinson carve out a niche as a trendy ‘big’ slot receiver.
Demarcus Robinson is an interesting add/hold in dynasty leagues because of the hesitation he may bring to some teams at the NFL Draft. Which means that you can draft him late. If Robinson can land with the right coach and system, we could see him emerge and pay dividends to owners in the future.