Is Allen Robinson a top-10 wide receiver in the league? If you ask me, that’s an easy yes. But according to a panel of NFL players, coaches and executives, Robinson just misses the cut. ESPN asked a group of 50 people from around the league to rank the best players at various positions and have been releasing the consensus top-10 lists over the past two weeks. On Wednesday they released their list of the best wide receivers, and the Bears' WR1 was relegated to honorable mention status.
“(Robinson) and Diggs are probably the best route runners,” said one NFL veteran offensive player, per Jeremy Fowler’s writeup. “I’ve seen Robinson with bad QB play put up ridiculous numbers. Release off the ball ridiculous, radius terrific, knowledge second to none.”
One of the reasons we’ve ranked Robinson as a top-10 (maybe even top-five) wide receiver in the league on the Under Center Podcast goes back to his ability to perform at the highest levels with “bad QB play.” Since breaking out in 2015, Robinson has never had even average quarterback play to support him, yet he’s still been able to produce on the field consistently. If you remove his rookie season and the year in which he tore his ACL, Robinson has averaged 1,087 yards and seven touchdowns per year. With Blake Bortles, Mitchell Trubisky, Chase Daniel and Nick Foles primarily throwing to him.
We still don’t know what Robinson’s ceiling is as a dominant WR1 in this league. With Andy Dalton throwing to him this year, it’s not unreasonable to believe that Robinson could not only set career bests for himself, but could challenge Brandon Marshall’s single-season Bears record of 118 catches. Over the past three seasons, five wideouts have crossed the 1,500-yard threshold. Why not Robinson, who is set to turn just 28 this August and enter the prime of his career?
No disrespect meant to other players listed ahead of Robinson on ESPN’s list, but it seems crazy that a guy like A.J. Brown would make the cut while Robinson didn’t. For starters, Brown has only played two seasons, so there’s still a “prove it” factor as he hasn’t shown he can produce year after year after year. Beyond that, over his two seasons, Brown hasn’t even topped Robinson’s average yards per season.
Robinson is likely already feeling disrespected by the Bears after the team opted to franchise tag him without any real reported hopes of a contract extension. This latest slight probably adds salt to that wound, too. Now, Bears fans hope this latest injustice will simply motivate Robinson even more to put together a historic receiving year.