Giants add insurance for Barkley; sign James Robinson

Photo Credit: by Rob Carr – Getty Images

Amidst the recent signing of another offensive player in Cole Beasley, the New York Giants soon after added young running back James Robinson. Formerly known for his time in Jacksonville as the once lead back for the Jaguars, injuries and a head coaching change led to his departure.

The addition of Robinson comes on the heels of the news that Saquon Barkley, the Giants star running back, could not come to a long-term agreement on a contract. As such, indications point to Barkley missing camp and not reporting to the team until just before Week 1. This leaves the Giants with a need to add another back to the position room.

Robinson is another option given Barkley’s possible absence.

The brief career of Robinson 

A former star high school running back in the state of Illinois, James Robinson attended Illinois State University, where he rushed for over 4000 yards and 40+ touchdowns. Eventually hitting the NFL, Robinson was added to the Jaguars roster as an undrafted free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. He was announced as the team’s starter after making the team in camp.  

Taking advantage of the spotlight, the then 22-year-old Robinson rushed for 1070 yards and seven touchdowns, adding 344 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns. He was only the fourth undrafted player in NFL history to rush for 1000 yards in his rookie year. Overall, it was one of the more prolific starts to a Jaguars career, especially an undrafted one.

Unfortunately, things did not remain uplifting, as Robinson ran into clashes with former head coach Urban Meyer and then tore his Achilles tendon in Week 16 of the 2021 season. His injury slowed his ability to recreate his rookie year magic.  

Meyer and staff were eventually replaced with Doug Pederson’s coaching staff. Soon into the 2022 season, Robinson was dealt to the New York Jets in a trade since the Jags had first rounder Travis Etienne now taking the reins as starter. Ever since, Robinson has been more of a backup player, with only 425 rushing yards with the Jets and a brief stint with the New England Patriots that ended due to health concerns.

What does James Robinson bring to the Giants? 

Overall, Robinson is still just 24 years old, providing the Giants a young back to join the rotation of players behind Barkley, given the latter player’s expected holdout. Standing at 5-9 and 219 pounds, Robinson is a low-to-the-ground back with solid contact balance and surprising ability in the receiving game. He can be a liability as a pass blocker, but has shown much promise as a playmaker who could warrant a roster spot if he’s healthy and proves it in camp.  

That won’t be easy. Robinson joins a room including veteran Matt Breida, former sixth-round draft pick Gary Brightwell Jr, and recent 2023 NFL Draft fifth-round selection Eric Gray. There are plenty of snaps to be taken by each player in the absence of Barkley. If anything, Robinson provides a great low-risk, potential high-reward player with youth on his side.  

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