"Historically, if you look back on our past, we love big guys, and have a lot of success with them and haven't changed our attitude about that at all." -Pete Carroll 2010
It is no secret that Pete Carroll has an affinity for big WRs. At USC, his recruits regularly towered over Pac-10 DBs - Dwayne Jarrett was 6'4", Mike Willams and Patrick Turner were both 6'5". These individuals regularly treated PAC-10 DBs like children while going on to win multiple National Championships and BCS bowl games throughout their various years.
Carroll has tried to implement a similar strategy throughout his Seahawks tenure. So far during his tenure, the Seahawks have signed Mike Williams 6'5", Sidney Rice 6'4", Braylon Edwards 6'3" and Terrell Owens 6'3", tried to trade for Brandon Marshall 6'4" and Vincent Jackson 6'5", and drafted Kris Durham 6'6". Despite this effort, the tallest WR on the Super Bowl XLVIII champs (never gets old), was Ricardo Lockette 6'2", and the tallest one that saw significant playing time was Jermaine Kearse 6'1". The Seahawks could benefit from more size on the outside and it is certainly something Carroll has had success with in the past.
Carroll has had success with his large receivers by playing them at X receiver. This is the position that recently-departed Golden Tate played last year. The biggest difference between the X and Z receiver is that the X receiver cannot go in motion, and consequently, they are more likely to face press coverage than the Z receiver. Big receivers are better at beating press coverage than smaller receivers and thus makes size an ideal trait for the X receiver. Danny has shared this a few times here at Field Gulls, but for reference, it's worth rehashing what former UW and NFL QB, Hugh Millen, said about X receiver on a segment on KJR:
"The X receiver is the split end. He is the widest receiver away from the tight end. What's unique about him, -- as opposed to the Z receiver, who is the flanker, and the other wide receiver -- is that the X receiver, in most formations, and of course, there are a lot of exceptions, but in most formations, the X receiver, the split end -- and those expressions are used synonymously -- he is tethered to the line of scrimmage. He's on the line of scrimmage, he cannot go in motion, and so, when he's facing a cornerback, as he almost always is, the cornerback can jam him at the line. So, your X receiver, he better have the profile of a guy that has the speed to get down the sideline, he better have the quickness to get away from the corner, and he better be good coming off a press."
Speed and quickness are ideal traits at any WR position but the ability to beat press is what distinguishes the X receiver from the Z and slot receivers. One player, that consistently beats press coverage, is Penn State WR Allen Robinson.
Robinson is not as tall as the aforementioned individuals, at the NFL combine, he measured in at, "only" 6'2" 221 lbs. Dez Bryant too "only" measured in at 6'2" 225 lbs at the 2010 NFL combine so Robinson's size isn't going to be a deterrent to him producing in the NFL.
Speaking of the NFL combine and production deterrents, Robinson ran an underwhelming 4.6 40 and people became bearish on him. Personally, I don't think Robison's 40 time should be a major detractor. Hakeem Nicks ran a 4.63 40, at the 2009 NFL combine, and he has had a productive NFL career despite constantly battling through injuries. Also, apart from the 40, everything else about Robinson's combine was excellent: He had a vertical jump of 39", a broad jump of 10'7", and a 4.00 second 20 yard shuttle. The vertical and broad jump numbers show his explosiveness, and the 20 yard shuttle time demonstrates his quickness. Robinson routinely used his explosion and quickness to beat press coverage last season.
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Here he uses his quickness to break off Wisconsin CB, Sojourn Shelton
Here he is doing the same to Nebraska CB, Josh Mitchell:
Robinson has a very nice release at the line of scrimmage and is extremely hard to jam. One of the biggest differences between college and pro football is that there is exponentially more press coverage in the pros. Anyone can look good when they have a free release but producing while still getting jammed is a much more difficult task - as Seahawks fans we know this better than anybody.
Speaking of producing while still getting jammed, here is Robinson winning on a comeback route against Syracuse CB, Brandon Reddish:
Here he is breaking of beating Eastern Michigan CB, Willie Creear, on a go route:
Brandon Browner clone, Nebraska CB, Stanley Jean-Baptise can get some too:
Robinson's release is so quick that DBs struggle to get a hand on him, and when they can get a hand on him, he is strong enough to fight through the contact. Strength at the WR position is something that is currently missing on the Seahawks and is one of the main reasons that Carroll drafted Chris Harper. After drafting Harper, Carroll had this to say:
"He gives us a guy that's a big, strong, physical receiver, different than the guys that we have, he's a very tough, physical kid, and so we really like that element that he brings and that it's different than the rest of our guys. He's 230-something pounds, he runs real well and he plays the ball real well. He makes catches with guys hanging all over him."
As we all know, Harper didn't pan out immediately and was cut in training camp. Consequently, that "big, physical receiver, who makes catches with guys hanging all over him" is the something that Carroll probably still desires this year. Especially considering that the Seahawks were 14th in the red zone touch down percentage last ear. A receiver that is big, physical, and can make cake catches with guys hanging all over him can help improve the Seahawks' red zone production.
Plays like this would certainly provide a boost
Even with only running a 4.6 40, Robinson is a player that I would be happy with at 32; however, I would be ecstatic about him at 64. He's a big, strong, physical receiver that is very good at beating press coverage. He runs clean routes, gets YACs, has serious bounce, fights for the ball and will be only 20 years old at the start of training camp. Robinson is already a baller and his best years are still to come.
Watch all the Allen Robinson videos at Draftbreakdown.com