Niner Noise’s “Who Is?” series on San Francisco 49ers players in 2017 shifts focus to wide receiver Aldrick Robinson, a free-agent pickup with ties to Kyle Shanahan.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan runs a complex offense.
Compared to former Niners head coach Chip Kelly’s scheme, Shanahan’s approach will take a lot of effort to learn. So it makes sense the 49ers brought in a slew of offensive players familiar with what Shanahan implements.
One of those new faces is wide receiver Aldrick Robinson.
Ever since breaking into the league in 2011, the 28-year-old Robinson has spent the better part of his NFL career working under Shanahan’s tutelate, first with the Washington Redskins and, most recently, with the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons:
|3 yr||3 yr||WAS||36||3||65||30||608||20.3||5||68||0.8||16.9|
|1 yr||1 yr||ATL||16||1||32||20||323||16.2||2||59||1.3||20.2|
|1 yr||1 yr||BAL||2||0||0||0||0||0.0||0.0|
While not a prolific receiver, numbers-wise, Robinson has at least been able to remain consistent in his production.
And with the Niners completely overhauling their wideout corps this offseason, Robinson fits a crucial role — mentoring the rest of the group.
But what else should we expect out of the hand-picked free-agent pickup?
San Francisco 49ers
Why He’ll Improve
Robinson’s stat lines don’t say much about his ability to contribute on the field. But it’s important to note he was playing behind Redskins wideouts DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon for most of his time in Washington.
And while in Atlanta, Robinson was an afterthought to receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu.
San Francisco’s receivers — namely Garcon, Marquise Goodwin and Jeremy Kerley — aren’t exactly the dynamic trio to take opportunities away from Robinson.
While he’s still a No. 4 receiver, most likely, Robinson does have another attribute making him a likable commodity in Shanahan’s offense — speed.
Robinson ran a 4.43 40-yard time at his NFL Scouting Combine, by the way.
Why He’ll Regress
Despite his impressive combine time, Robinson is more quick than fast. His speed is something that works more to his initial burst and acceleration, rather than having the ability to beat defensive backs deep.
Robinson also fits the bill with many of San Francisco’s current receivers. He’s short. At 5-foot-10 and 187 pounds, it isn’t as if the former Southern Methodist receiver is capable of beating coverage, physically.
And while he was buried behind receivers like Jones and Sanu last year, the lack of production in one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses raises some questions.
What to Expect in 2017
It’s clear the Niners brought Robinson aboard for one main reason — to teach Shanahan’s scheme to the remaining crop of wideouts not familiar with the offense.
Robinson will do more than just act as a mentor, of course, but his defined role probably won’t be much more than just a No. 4 receiver on a team looking for a true No. 1.
The likely depth chart to start the season would have Garcon, Goodwin and Kerley working in that order, with Kerley operating out of the slot. Robinson’s size and quickness makes him a solid backup option or No. 4 receiver working on the inside.
And as a rotational piece, the 49ers could do much worse.
Barring some drastic setback, Robinson’s spot on the roster is also pretty safe. Unless he has a horrendous training camp, the Niners will look at him to be a nice cog in an offense trying to find its feet this season.