Looking for a top sleeper running back in this draft? You just found him. Robert has good size and speed and has those quick feet in the hole along with vision to make the needed cuts that keep linebackers on their heals all game long. Robert is a patient runner and is one of the few backs in this draft class that knows how to set up his blocks for his offensive linemen. He can break tackles and, because of his short stride and quick cutting ability, he has that knack of falling forward, not taking big hits and gaining yardage when nothing is to be gained. He has very good hands and can be used as a receiver out of the backfield or, in some cases, as a slot receiver. He shows leadership skills through his consistent play on the field and has the respect of the coaches and all the players. Robert is not a "take it to the house" type of running back; he is a "gain yardage all game long and win" type of running back.
To be successful at the next level, Robert will have to get stronger in his lower body. His style of running requires a very strong lower body similar to former Dallas Cowboy Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith and Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson. If Robert can gain that type of lower body strength, he has the potential to be very successful for the team that drafts him. Robert will also have to get much better blocking the blitz and reading defenses. All the great RB's like Emmitt Smith, Thurman Thomas, Curtis Martin all were able to read defenses like a QB and block linebackers in space and in tight. He has to learn to run lower through the tackles in the red zone to gain the tough yardage along with gaining strength in his legs. Robert has the look of a back with the abilities of those former players, but looks are not everything.
While everyone is looking at the linebacker for this team (and after I started to get bored), I noticed Robert in the backfield and realized this kid is better than most are giving him credit for. Robert should be a player who will be a better NFL player than he was a college player -- and he is a very good college player! He has the build of a successful back, very much like the players mentioned above. He is very smart and instinctive; I think almost too patient when running the ball sometimes. He is an offensive lineman's dream come true because of his ability to set up easy blocks for them, that's if they can get out quick enough and pull. This kid is a quality kid who should improve with experience, and when he does, he is going to be a core player and a fan favorite. If he can stay healthy, he could be a player we all wish our team had drafted in this draft. He is the only back in this draft that I have seen so far this year to have the skills and talent that Trent (The Wonder Back) Richardson has. The difference is that Robert needs more lower body strength, to improve his reading of defenses and picking up the blitz. Add to that the level of competition and you can understand that Robert may have Trent Richardson like talent, but it is more developmental at this point of his career.
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart March/12