Much attention has been paid to the weaknesses throughout the Buffalo Bills’ defense during the 2015 NFL season, but heading into the 2016 offseason the team will need to make upgrades along the offense as well. Under Greg Roman, wide receiver Sammy Watkins has emerged as a game-changer at the wide receiver position, but injuries suffered to Percy Harvin, Marquise Goodwin and Robert Woods have exposed the lack of depth and sure talent the Bills have on their depth chart. Today, we’ll take a look at Florida wide receiver Demarcus Robinson
Demarcus Robinson was a highly touted recruit when he stepped onto the University of Florida campus, but he’s had a rocky three years with the Gators. Robinson was suspended four times by two separate coaching staffs for failing drug tests and violating team rules. Demarcus Robinson is an extremely talented player with a high ceiling, but he has been his own worst enemy.
As a true freshman in 2013, Robinson was able to see action on the field, catching five passes for 23 yards in four games before getting suspended for the rest of the year. In 2014 as a sophomore, he showed just how talented he could be, hauling in 53 passes for 810 yards and seven scores and finished his junior year with 48 catches for 522 yards and two touchdowns.
Demarcus Robinson Size/ Athletic Ability
Demarcus Robinson has great size, standing 6’1” and 205 pounds, possessing a well-built frame with room to grow. He’s got long arms and big hands that allow him to make catches away from his body. At the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine, Robinson ran a 4.59 second 40-yard dash with a 1.59-second 10-yard split, an impressive number that matches with his quick release off the line of scrimmage when you watch him. His 4.19 second short-shuttle was 7th-fastest among 44 wide receivers and his 6.77-second three-cone time was fourth-best. Those times also matched up with the short area quickness and agility he shows on tape.
Demarcus Robinson Route Running/ YAC Ability
Demarcus Robinson is one of the most polarizing prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft class, because he has the talent to take over games by himself, but he doesn’t always show the effort to do so. He has the ability to make defenders look silly, showing great footwork getting in and out of his breaks and creates separation.
In the following play, Demarcus Robinson runs a quick out route. He stops on a dime and turning to the boundary, putting the cornerback in a trail position before picking up a chunk of yards after the catch.
On comeback routes, Demarcus Robinson does a good job of selling the vertical route through the stem, before quickly pivoting and turning back to the ball, oftentimes giving the cornerback no time to break back on the route.
He does this again against press coverage, getting an outside release before quickly coming back to the ball.
Demarcus Robinson has great footwork when working over the middle of the field and is lethal once he gets the ball in his hands. He’s quick to break inside and cross the face of the defender covering him and will quickly turn downfield to gain additional yards-after-the catch.
He shows this on another slant against Vanderbilt, catching a quick five yard pass before maneuvering his way through defenders for an additional 35 yards.
The above plays highlight the best of Robinson, but there are times when he’ll run lazy routes, rounding routes instead of planting his foot in the ground and cutting. He’ll jog through routes on plays that aren’t to him.
Demarcus Robinson Hands/ Body Control
Demarcus Robinson is a hands catcher, meaning that he’ll extend his arms to pluck the ball out of the air, rather than let it get into his body. He’s got strong hands to make the tough catches and a flexible body that he’ll contort to make acrobatic catches.
In the following play, Robinson runs a beautiful corner route. The pass is thrown behind him, but Robinson is able to jump in the air, turn his body and make a spectacular one-handed grab.
However, he’ll have mental lapses that lead to costly drops. He dropped six passes on 79 targets this year, which ranks 251st among the draft eligible wideouts.
But as previously stated, when Demarcus Robinson is focused, he’ll make ridiculous plays such as the following one against Kentucky. He trips when breaking out of his route and the pass is almost intercepted by Kentucky’s cornerback, but the ball bounces off his hands right into Robinson’s. Robinson doesn’t even hesitate and gets downfield before being tackled inside the 10-yard line.
Potential Fit with Buffalo Bills
Demarcus Robinson will come with a “buyer beware” label, but if it weren’t for his off-field issues, he’d likely be in the discussion of being one of the top wideouts in the 2016 NFL Draft. He reportedly didn’t do much to help himself during combine interviews, but we all know Rex Ryan isn’t afraid to take a chance on a player with a checkered past.
Demarcus Robinson is a prototypical boundary wideout with good size and athleticism. When he was focused, he dominated his opposition. In Florida’s spread offense, he primarily lined up as the backside “X” in 3×1 formations and was relied on to win one-on-one matchups and did so regularly. If he can keep his head on straight, he has the potential to be one of the steals of the 2016 NFL Draft.
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