If you, CSR, were acting as the Carolina Panthers' general manager and you were desperate enough to purchase a want ad describing the type of receiver you needed to make your offense more dangerous, what exactly would it look like? I think I have a good idea, so let me give it a shot.
Wanted: One game-changing #1 wide receiver who has good size, preferably over 6-Foot-2. Must have large, strong hands to go along with a substantial wingspan built for catching passes high, low and wide, especially in the end-zone. It is imperative that said wide receiver possess powerful quick-twitch leg muscles to outrun and out-leap defenders. He will also need to understand the importance of meticulously practicing and properly executing the artistic nuances of precise route running in order to consistently maximize his present and future productivity. Additionally, it is equally essential that he is endowed with the strength, willingness and determination to sacrifice his body when taking on the unappreciated, yet invaluable task of blocking. Last but not least, he must be enthusiastic about representing our organization with integrity on and off the field. In other words, we are looking for the perfect wide receiver. If you fit this description, please give us a call at 1-800-Panther.
Hyperbole and humor can go hand in hand at times, and this was the case when I decided to throw the want ad idea out there. Of course, we all know that there is no such thing as a perfect prospect. Even in a draft that is expected to be loaded with a plethora of big, game-changing wideouts, it would be foolish to expect another once in a generation(or lifetime) near perfect receiver like Calvin Johnson to be available. Nevertheless, I wholeheartedly believe there will be at least a couple of receivers on the board in the latter part of the first round who stand a good chance to finally become THE guy to replace the one and only Steve Smith. As we all know, those will be awfully gigantic shoes to fill, but today's Tuesday Afternoon Prospect has the resume and physical attributes to answer the bell by becoming Cam Newton's new number one target. He certainly isn't perfect, but he could be the answer we've been looking for.
WR Allen Robinson
If you haven't heard of Allen Robinson, then you need to get acquainted. After an uneventful true freshman 2011 season that ended with 3 catches for 29 yards, the Michigan native exploded during his sophomore campaign by breaking Penn State's single season receptions record by hauling in 77 catches. His 1,018 receiving yards in the same year were also the most any former Nittany Lion had ever accomplished as a sophomore. Not to be outdone, Robinson has already obliterated his own records this season, and will be looking to break a couple more in what could be his final college football experience in a presently undetermined bowl game.
During the past two years, Robinson has used his impressive 6-Foot-3, 210-Pound frame to abuse defenders of all sizes. He not only has a great work ethic, but he also has the game speed and leaping ability to come up with big plays in crucial moments. His strong hands and balanced body control are almost always on display in traffic and/or in the air when fighting for those tough catches. Robinson also shows very well as a blocker on film, which is always a bonus when looking for receivers who do it all.
Frankly, I see a great deal of Reuben Randle in Robinson. They are practically the same size and weight. Both possess above average short area quickness and speed, which allows them to gain separation before and after the catch. Robinson does have the superior jumping ability of the two if the reports from Penn State are true that he posted a 37 inch vertical this past spring(Randle could only put up a 31 at the combine and his pro day). On the collegiate level, each of these dynamic receivers had a knack for making spectacular catches with defender(s) draped all over them. Randle's production while at LSU doesn't compare to Robinson's prolific stats, but keep in mind that the former had less opportunity and stiffer overall competition to face in the SEC.
Robinson's game could be picked apart, but there really isn't much to criticize. His route running has continued to improve to the point where I expect him to master the art within his first couple of years in the NFL. He could also stand to add a little weight to his frame as long as he doesn't lose any speed in the process.
Here's my advice to you, CSR, should Robinson give up his last year of eligibility at Penn State: Don't sleep on this guy being the pick if the Panthers do go receiver in the 1st round. He could still be there late in the 2nd round, but I wouldn't count on it. Robinson is just the type of hard working, high character prospect that the Panthers would love to bring into the locker room. Year one, I could see him starting on the outside opposite either Ted Ginn Jr. or Brandon Lafell. There is a chance the Panthers re-sign both of them, but I suspect only one will be retained. If I had to make an educated guess, I would say Ginn Jr. will be retained in part because of his utterly unique speed. In the perfect scenario, Robinson would show the coaching staff enough in practice and preseason to give them enough confidence to permanently place Smith in the slot for the remainder of his career.
Now it's your turn to be the judge, CSR. What say you?