Commanders RB Brian Robinson Jr. gets huge seal of approval

(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Robinson Jr.
(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Robinson Jr. /

Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. got a huge seal of approval from a former Pro Bowler after an impressive rookie campaign.

Considering all the turmoil Brian Robinson Jr. went through before stepping foot on an NFL field, his performances were hugely encouraging. There was a quiet sense of optimism surrounding the third-round pick before training camp, but a significant off-field incident threatened not only his rookie campaign but his future at the next level entirely.

Robinson was shot multiple times during an attempted robbery. This sent fans into deep concern, especially considering the tragic death of Sean Taylor in a similar incident.

However, Robinson came back after just six weeks and was keen to make up for some lost time. The former Alabama star demonstrated all the explosiveness, patience, and physicality needed to carve out an extremely productive professional career for himself despite the trying situation he found himself in.

Washington needed this in no uncertain terms considering the injuries suffered by Antonio Gibson and J.K. McKissic. Something that’s likely to see Robinson assume lead-back duties in his second season with the team.

Brian Robinson Jr. has a bright future with the Commanders

There’s a good chance Robinson develops further with a less dramatic preparation period. If the Commanders find the right quarterback and improve their protection, this offense could take off.

Robinson’s eye-catching campaign in difficult circumstances didn’t go unnoticed around the league. And one former Pro Bowler gave the player another huge confidence boost as he looks to refine his craft in the coming months.

Even though Robinson ranked No. 28 out of 75 in Maurice Jones-Drew’s running back rankings from 2022, the player-turned-analyst seemed confident in additional growth as Washington’s primary option moving forward.

"“(Brian) Robinson finished his rookie campaign as the team’s leader in carries and rushing yards despite not seeing the field until Week 5 (he was shot twice during an attempted robbery in August) and splitting time with Antonio Gibson. He put out plenty of positive tape to build on in Year 2.”"

This is deserved praise for Robinson, who rushed for 797 yards and two touchdowns from 205 carries. Finding the end zone more frequently is the next big challenge, which is entirely possible providing the Commanders finally solve their complex quarterback riddle to open up the running game.

Robinson’s approach, determination, and ability to produce under pressure are traits that have made him an instant fan favorite. If the necessary progress arrives, there’s nothing to suggest he cannot become one of the league’s elite backs entering his prime.

That’s a lofty goal to aim for, there’s no getting away from that. But if anyone has the character and raw skills to accomplish these feats and more, it’s Robinson.

What this means for Gibson and McKissic is anyone’s guess. Operating with a multi-back approach is something most NFL teams are doing to preserve freshness, which is something the Commanders might also consider with the options at Ron Rivera’s disposal.

One thing that cannot be disputed is Robinson’s importance to the Commanders next season and beyond. A remarkable turn of events considering the concern surrounding the player before taking an NFL snap.

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