The Air Force Academy doesn’t usually produce NFL-sized wide receivers that are considered redzone threats. Well, Jalen Robinette made a name for himself at the Academy, and now will be looking to make a name for himself in the NFL. There’s no doubt that his skill set and size will be intriguing to NFL teams.
*Dominator Rating: 48.8%
*Breakout Age: 19.6
Weight 220 lbs.
Arm Length 32⅜”
Hand Size 10⅞”
40 Yard Dash 4.62
Vertical Jump 31½”
Broad Jump 120″
3-Cone Drill 6.77
20 Yard Shuttle 4.46
60 Yard Shuttle 11.68
Bench Press 13 reps
(*Dominator Rating and Breakout Age provided by playerprofiler.com)
Overcoming adversity is a difficult thing to do, but Robinette has had to defeat the odds his entire life. Robinette’s mother Trine Rowell is African-American and his father Michael Robinette is white. This unconventional background led to Jalen dealing with racial questioning from those around him, according to an article by Brent Briggeman of The Gazette. Briggeman’s article explained that since Robinette’s mother was just a teenager when Robinette was born, he was already put at a statistical disadvantage from the start.
In the same article by Briggeman, a study from the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy explains that students born to teen mothers are 50% more likely to repeat grades and less likely to complete high school. Not only did Robinette defeat the odds, he put them to shame.
Robinette has outstanding athletic genes. He ended up following in his father’s footsteps and played high school basketball, lettering all four years. His mother ran relays in college which was influential to Robinette as he would run track as well.
Both basketball and track experience would benefit Robinette, considering he played wide receiver and quarterback while at Bexley High School. His mother made sure to make most of Robinette’s football games. At his last game of his high school career, he put his mother’s last name, Rowell, on the back of his jersey as a tribute to her and the sacrifices she made to be there for him.
His football career would continue as he signed as an unranked recruit with the Air Force Academy on May 9, 2012. He would be the second leading receiver his freshman year with 291 yards on 16 receptions and three touchdowns. His average yards per catch would increase each year from 18.2 his freshman year to 27.4 his senior year.
What is really telling is that during his sophomore year, he had 43 receptions with 18.7 average yards per catch while his senior year he had 35 receptions with 27. 4 yards per catch. He would have only 153 more total yards his sophomore year than his senior year. His college career would end with 2697 yards on 120 receptions and 18 touchdowns while averaging 22.5 yards per catch.
At 6’3” and 220lbs., Robinette has the frame needed to be successful at the next level. His long arms and baseball-mitt hands make for an elite catch radius. Teams would most likely want to use Robinette in redzone situations, as he has the basketball experience and length to box out defenders and high point the ball at the catch point.
Body Control and Balance:
An impressive trait that Robinette possess is his body control and adjustment to the ball. He knows where he is on the field and demonstrates good awareness, to not only adjust to the ball, but track the ball. His mental awareness is indeed a plus when it comes to how he times his body adjustment.
On this play, Robinette does a good job of tracking the ball and not allowing the oncoming defender to phase his decision-making. He does a great job of quickly analyzing the situation while using a very good shift in body weight to redirect himself and make the defender miss. His above average contact balance and functional strength allow him to stay on his feet and run into the endzone.
Here Robinette misleads the defender to the inside while gaining leverage to the outside. He then maintains outstanding control and balance to gain extra yards. This one play displays how his tenacity, body control and awareness combine to help Robinette make this play successful.
Falcons pass the ball on an average of 15% of the time. This doesn’t help Robinette’s stats because it’s a double-edge sword, as this type of system has forced him to have experience run-blocking. His technique needs some fine tuning, but the willingness and physicality are evident. He uses his length and frame well, clamping his hands into the shoulder pads of the defender while maintaining good knee and elbow bend.
For every “wow” moment that Robinette showcases, there are moments where his lack of concentration plagues him. He attempts to frame the football with his hands, yet allows the ball to go right through his fingertips. A lot of times it’s when he is attempting to catch away from his body that he has difficulty with his concentration. For a guy that has almost 11” hands, this is unacceptable. The inconsistency when high pointing or catching away from his body can be very concerning when translating his game to the NFL.
Playing in an offense that focuses on running the ball doesn’t bode well for a receiver understanding and learning route concepts. It’s unfair to knock a guy for the offense he plays in, but there are other concerns that will limit his route running.
First, his lateral quickness is below average. At times he is almost coming to a complete stop to change direction. There is no fluidity in his movements and he runs too upright, taking more time for him to lower his body and adjust his hips to break in his routes.
Second, he overuses his upper and lower body gestures, hindering whatever story he was trying to tell with his routes. His head fakes and arm movements will be used once or twice before he attempts to redirect into his route. By this time the defender has caught on to his phony deceptiveness.
Lastly, his lack of explosion and burst off the line of scrimmage limits his ability to beat faster and more agile defenders. He has a decent amount of acceleration that helps him beat man coverage from time to time, but he lacks the initial first step to generate a good cushion. If he can learn to use his hands and physicality more functionally against man or press, his lack of explosion won’t deter his ability to beat this type of coverage.
There is a ton of upside with Robinette. It is important to understand his background to comprehend what type of player you are going to get. He has high character, high work ethic and is very family oriented. He is a natural leader that all NFL teams should want in the locker room. The fact that he has proven to overcome adversity is just the icing on the cake.
His NFL size mixed with his above-average balance, leverage and physicality make him a very appealing vertical threat. Teams will most likely use him in redzone situations and if used properly, he could make a living in the endzone. Robinette is likely a mid to late pick in the NFL draft, and a third or fourth round pick in a fantasy dynasty draft with landing spot determining his upside.