Unless you’re an avid reader of DLF, have season tickets to either West Texas A&M or Blinn College, or really follow the New Orleans Saints, you likely don’t know too much about running back Khiry Robinson. We’ve been talking about Robinson in the DLF Forum for the better part of a year, mostly after we posted this article on him last off-season. With the imminent departure of Darren Sproles and the possibility of Pierre Thomas being jettisoned as well, it’s time everyone learns more about the young runner because he may just be thrust into an extremely prominent role with New Orleans next season.
Robinson attended Belton High School in Texas and was an All-District and All-Centex selection for the Tigers. In addition to being a star football player, he was also an exceptional track athlete as he one the District 13-5A title in both the long and triple jump – it’s that kind of lower body explosiveness that helped him get discovered.
He moved on to Blinn Junior College and graduated after playing both running back and strong safety for the football team, becoming a Junior College All-Conference selection as he helped lead the team to a National Title in the NJCAA title game with none other than Cam Newton at the helm. Keep in mind he was named All-Conference as a Safety, which shows you just what kind of an athlete he may be. After graduating from Blinn College, Robinson was a great player for West Texas A&M in 2011 as he produced 103 carries for 669 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also caught 22 passes for 182 yards and two more scores.
The best was yet to come.
In 2012, Robinson was the Lone Star Conference Offensive Back of the year after he posted 1,654 rushing yards on 247 carries (good for an average of 6.7 yards per carry), added 430 receiving yards on 38 catches and scored a total of 19 touchdowns. Robinson is listed at 6’0″ and 220 pounds, but is probably closer to 5’10″ or so. His measurements from his Pro Day last year weren’t anything spectacular. In fact, most running backs who run a 4.6 or 4.7 forty aren’t exactly found in demand. However, it was his strength and explosiveness in games that got him noticed at a whole different level as the Saints signed Robinson last May as an undrafted free agent to compete for a roster spot, which he actually won after a sparkling preseason where he ran for 228 yards on 49 carries for New Orleans.
Last year was a bit of a redshirt season at the beginning, but Robinson started to emerge late. On the season, he posted 224 yards on 54 carries. What dynasty league owners should note is Robinson was trusted even more in the critical postseason as he recorded 102 yards on 21 carries, including a 57-yard effort with a touchdown against the Seahawks in the Divisional Round. In case you haven’t noticed, Seattle is pretty good defensively. Robinson didn’t anything in the passing game during the season, but that may not mean he can’t. He also doesn’t have the look of a prototypical third down back, but he has been productive when given the chance and that just has to account for something right now. When you watch Robinson play, you see someone who has the ability to break tackles and finish off runs – perfect for Sean Payton.
The off-season has been pretty exciting for Robinson. With the Saints looking to unload not only Darren Sproles, but Pierre Thomas as well, the depth chart includes only Robinson and Mark Ingram as truly viable options. It’s obvious the Saints trust Robinson as he led the team in carries in their final game. With Ingram still not living up to his potential, it’s quite possible Robinson could lead the Saints backfield in touches next season. It’s hard to imagine, but in a best case scenario (which may very well be a realistic one), Robinson could be the better part of a two-headed committee with Ingram. Bill Parcells recently compared Robinson to Curtis Martin and that alone should raise some eyebrows of dynasty owners. While nobody can reasonably expect Robinson to carve out a Hall of Fame career like Martin, any player with a skill set that can be compared to the former New York and New England star needs to be recognized.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 1,000 times – this is the single worst time for a dynasty owner to acquire a running back. After all, the Saints could add another back during free agency and/or the upcoming draft to make this exercise in “potential” a useless waste of time. However, the chance of having the key cog in this high octane offense is worthy of taking a risk to acquire Robinson, especially if his owners are sleepwalking and you can get him as a sneaky “throw in” to a larger deal. There are players who emerge every season and it’s up to us to read those tea leaves. Right now, Earl Gray says find a way to pick up Robinson in your leagues.
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK