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Should the Eagles be pursuing Demarcus Robinson?

The Kist & Solak Show #173!

NFL: Super Bowl LIV-San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 free agency period is nigh upon us, with roughly a month to go until a million mocks hit the trash can as the league wheels and deals it’s way to remade rosters and renewed dreams.

With the Philadelphia Eagles need at wide receiver, it’s no surprise that free agents are already starting to be linked to them. According to Jeff McLane of The Phildadelphia Inquirer, the Eagles have Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson “in their sights”. It’s not the sexiest start to the off-season, I know, but it’s something.

How big of a something is it? That’s one of the several topics we discussed on The Kist & Solak Show #173. What follows is a loose transcript from that show where I discuss the possibility of the Eagles bringing Robinson into the fold...

“PFF graded him 95th out of 103 wide receivers last year, and while those grades are not gospel I’ve always said they’re typically at least a decent baseline, he was literally one spot ahead of Nelson Agholor, which as we know based on Agholor’s season, that’s not encouraging.

His yards per route run ranked 95th of 103, which, oddly enough, the next worse was also Agholor. So since we’ve mentioned Agholor twice, slot guy, what about Robinson in the slot?

Well the guy really doesn’t operate from there, and when he does, he has a target rate that’s 76th out of 79, so the slot really wasn’t a boon for him either.

Per PFF he also had 5 drops, with a drop rate that checked in at 12.5%, ranking 93rd of 103, and you want that drop rate somewhere in the neighborhood of 5% if it’s not going to be a concern, he over doubles that, which okay, bad grade, low usage, big drops, sounds like an Eagle to me if I ever saw one. I mean the guy had 3 drops in the divisional round and played a decent role in why the score was 24-0.

I mean the guy had one game, one game last year where he was productive, week 2 against Oakland he had 6 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns, that’s 38% of his receiving yards, 50% of his touchdowns in one game.” - Michael Kist

The first play, a 44-yard touchdown is a coverage bust. The Chiefs send three verticals to the field side and the Raiders simply let Robinson slip by. The second play goes for 43 yards on a concept called “Yankee”. Robinson takes advantage of a cornerback with outside leverage expecting safety help, but the safety gets occupied by the deep crosser. That’s easy money.

The following two plays show more, including a touchdown grab over Gareon Conley (later traded by Oakland) on a stutter go, aided by Conley’s perpetual struggles to jam effectively. Still, Robinson does well to work back through contact and make a play. If there were more of these types of plays on his film, there might be more cause for optimism. The four plays shown here represent his four longest receptions of his 2019 campaign.

“Howie liked him back in 2016 during the draft process, he was an official thirty visit, so I get dialing back on him, but this is just a 6’1” 203 pound dude with a decent catch radius that runs a 4.59 with a solid 3-cone and broad jump and marginal tape, questionable production, a case of the drops and probably a WR4 ceiling to be generous.

If they sign him, whatever, but hopefully they do enough elsewhere at the position that he’s fighting for a job, because while he’s better than some of the guys they brought in off the street towards the end of the season and that has it’s value when you’re talking about depth even though it’s an absurdly low bar, there’s nothing about this that would stand out to me.” - Michael Kist

The problem with this, as my co-host Benjamin Solak pointed out, is that even if they do make a low-impact signing like this meant to fill out depth, it makes the chances of further investments at the position less likely. For all the buzz about adding to the unit, it’s still looking to be fairly cramped at the moment.

Perhaps the Eagles feel more comfortable with Robinson’s floor than they would with a late-round rookie, which is understandable. My opinion of this signing or one like it would largely depend on what else is done to boost the group. It also depends on the money, which could be affordable/cheap but Robinson is also garnering interest from the New York Giants. A bidding war for his services is not something that “moves it”.

We discuss this more, including a chat on other free agent targets and the front office additions on The Kist & Solak Show #173! Listen on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts? Check out our guide on how to listen and subscribe to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!

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