Demarcus Robinson came into the season staring up the depth chart as he did his rookie season, but injuries and solid play have catapulted him forward.
During the 2016 NFL Draft, then-general manager John Dorsey selected wide receivers back to back on the final day of the three-day event. Specifically in the fourth and fifth rounds, Dorsey decided to bolster the Kansas City Chiefs receiving corps by taking Demarcus Robinson and Tyreek Hill respectively.
From the outset, it was clear that one was going to play while the other would wait. Tyreek Hill’s incredible top end speed and elusiveness garnered him immediate playing time on special teams and it wasn’t long until the Chiefs were figuring out how to use him in any possible way. As for Robinson, it was a bit of a waiting game.
It’s not that Robinson didn’t come into the NFL with plenty of rave reviews of his own. Robinson isn’t as fast as Hill, but who is? The truth is Robinson is very fast himself and quite athletic with excellent hands and a real chance at becoming a very productive receiver in the NFL. The primary issues were about character concerns, marked by multiple suspensions in college at the University of Florida.
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As Hill has transitioned this year to be one of the Chiefs primary receivers, Chris Conley was taking up the majority of reps on the outside opposite Hill. Robinson was largely expected to watch on offense and participate on special teams for another year, but solid preseason play and flashes of that potential during the offseason gave him the first chance to replace Conley when injured.
Fast forward several weeks and Robinson was the primary wide receiver utilized on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. A look at the snap count reveals that Robinson was in on 51 snaps, 3 more than Tyreek Hill and 5 more than Albert Wilson. Those are reps hard-earned by Robinson who has shown himself to be a nice option for Smith (who often misses him or doesn’t see him) as well as a burgeoning blocker.
Moving forward in 2018, the Chiefs will certainly welcome Conley back from an Achilles injury, but they also have another developing wideout in Robinson to help round out the passing game. Dorsey hit an instant home run with his fifth round choice, but we’ll likely come to appreciate his fourth round pick as well when all is said and done.