As a Fansided site we are participating in an ongoing 2014 NFL Mock Draft with some of the Local and NFL sites of Fansided. You can follow the ongoing draft here (http://factoryofsadness.co) to see all of the picks leading to our selection below. Follow along as we complete all 32 teams First Round Picks.
With the 28th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft the Carolina Panthers select Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State. It is no secret the Panthers need to surround Cam Newton with more weapons. Steve Smith is past his prime and Brandon Lafell barely looks like a number 2 receiver anymore. Ted Ginn vastly outplayed Lafell this season, but is still not the answer when it comes to replacing Steve Smith. Cue Allen Robinson. At 6’3″ and 210 pounds, Robinson is a big body. Pair that with his tremendous leaping ability and he has an impressive catch radius that the Panthers severely lack at receiver. The Panthers need a guy who can be a big red zone target and Robinson might be the answer. He is strong enough to fight off the larger corners and surprisingly agile enough to make plays after the catch. Some of his catches are just unbelievable. He has great body control in the air and the focus to make the catch over defenders and maintain possession through the ground.
Robinson was a two way athlete, playing basketball and football at his high school in Michigan, before leaving to focus on football for Penn State. I love football players who have a basketball background (like Jimmy Graham and Antonio Gates). When Robinson goes after a jump ball in the air it is like he is skying to secure a rebound over defenders (and he comes down with it more times than not). He does not have elite straight line speed, but makes up for it with his lateral quickness and strength to fight through arm tackles.
Robinson had a forgettable true freshman season at Penn State, totaling only 3 catches for 29 yards, but followed that up with 2 productive seasons. In 2012, Robinson set a school record with 77 catches. He racked up 1,018 yards and 11 touchdowns. His junior season was even more impressive. Robinson amassed 97 catches for 1,432 yards and 6 touchdowns, earning him a spot as a third team All-American. The production is there and Robinson has the ability to be a contributor in his first season as a Carolina Panther.
Allen Robinson has issues with his route running and tends to tip off his routes presnap. However, working with the likes of Ricky Proehl should help remedy any issues. Robinson already has a solid understanding for making sharp cuts in and out of his routes, but has a tendency to body catch a lot of passes. Again this issues can easily be corrected by practicing with NFL coaches and players. He has had off the field issues. He was suspended for the first half of the 2013 season opener for “disciplinary reasons.” If you are playing on a team with Steve Smith, you are not going to have room to slip up because Smith will be on you immediately. Having a veteran presence like Smitty in the locker room should help Robinson with his maturity and focus.
Robinson is a guy I would love to see in a Panthers uniform. He is a big target with the ability to make spectacular catches over the tallest defenders. He is a playmaker after the catch and a serious red zone threat. He is an excellent compliment to a receiving corps containing Steve Smith and Ted Ginn (should the Panthers resign him). With time to develop under receivers coach Ricky Proehl, Robinson has the potential to develop into the next receiving star for the Panthers. Below is a short highlight video of Robinson at Penn State. It contains some amazing catches you just have to see to believe.