Allen Robinson: Elite Receiver?
It’s the question that keeps getting asked and it doesn’t seem to be going away.
Chicago Bears’ wide receiver Allen Robinson has been staying busy. Whether it’s working on his route cuts with Mitchell Trubisky, donating masks to inner-city youth through his charity, or tweeting about canceled preseason games, Robinson doesn’t seem to be spending much time listening to outside noise. That doesn’t mean, however, that the noise is nonexistent. It’s almost become a weekly debate at this point: Is Allen Robinson an elite receiver? While the average Bears fan on Twitter would answer that question with a resounding yes, let’s take a look at where “experts” rank the seventh-year receiver.
If these tweets are to believed, it would seem as though Allen Robinson isn’t as good as fans in Chicago think he is. It’s hard to argue with former NFL quarterbacks, league executives, and the most popular football simulation on the planet, after all. However, for the sake of argument, let’s take a look at the numbers to see where Robinson stacks up with some of the players listed above him. In 2019, Allen Robinson ranked seventh in receptions, 14th in receiving yards, and 17th in touchdowns. Overall, those numbers may not pop out on a box score, but perhaps some advanced metrics will help us paint a better picture.
Deep Threat Statistics
In this category, we’re looking at “Yards Before Catch”. This is a metric commonly used to grade the best deep threat wide receivers in all of football. According to Pro Football Reference, Allen Robinson accumulated 875 YBC in 2019, good for seventh in the league. Among the names in the top ten were Michael Thomas, Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, and Mike Evans, all of whom received Pro Bowl selections last season. It should also be noted that according to PFF, Allen Robinson has been particularly good past 20 yards.
Success Against Man Coverage
Wide receivers are only as valuable as their ability to catch in difficult situations. Among all receivers in 2019, Allen Robinson ranked first in “Success Rate Against Man Coverage”, pulling in a rate of 79.3% according to The Fantasy Footballers. Among the names in the top ten were Michael Thomas, Devante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and DeAndre Hopkins. Once again, that’s a very impressive crowd to be associated with. Robinson also rated out well on contested catches according to PFF, ranking near the top of the metric.
At the end of the day, these types of arguments end up being very subjective. On one hand, it’s very easy to look at popular statistics and find the players near the top of the league. On the other, an argument can be made about talent surrounding the player in question. What can’t be denied, however, is the volume of attention players like Allen Robinson require on Sunday’s. The value of a legitimate number one receiver in today’s NFL is unmatched and I’m willing to bet the Chicago Bears are pretty comfortable with their current option.