When quizzed on his knowledge of the Washington Redskins, Aldrick Robinson admits that he doesn’t know much about the team.
The Waxahachie, Texas, native grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan, and didn’t pay much attention to the guys in burgundy and gold. But Robinson, whom the Redskins selected out of SMU with the 13th pick of the sixth round of the NFL draft last Saturday, knows two things about his new team.
“I know they run a West Coast-style offense and that they need receivers,” Robinson says. “Hopefully I can fill that need.”
Indeed the Redskins were in need of help at receiver this offseason. Last season Santana Moss recorded 93 catches for 1,115 yards and six touchdowns, and Anthony Armstrong added 44 catches for 871 yards and three touchdowns. But beyond that, no other receiver had more than 12 catches, and that player was Joey Galloway (173 yards), who was cut midseason. Roydell Williams, Terrence Austin and Brandon Banks combined for an anemic 13 catches for 166 yards and no scores.
Moss is a free agent, leaving Armstrong as the only proven receiver under contract. So the Redskins selected Leonard Hankerson, Niles Paul and Robinson last weekend. Hankerson and Paul are bigger targets, both standing over six feet tall. Meanwhile, the 5-foot-10, 178 Robinson is a speedster.
“I like to stretch the field,” Robinson says. “I can run any route, but stretching the field is what I like to do the most.”
Robinson used his 4.35-second 40-yard dash speed to rack up 181 receptions, 3,314 yards (fifth in SMU history) and 30 touchdowns for the Mustangs over the last four years. He averaged better than 16 yards per catch all four seasons and as a senior, Robinson recorded 65 catches for 1,301 yards and 14 touchdowns. His 20.0-yard-per catch average ranked sixth in the nation, and his 14 touchdowns tied for fourth.
Having played June Jones’ pass-happy run-and-shoot offense, Robinson feels well prepared for the NFL because of the responsibilities that Jones placed on his receivers.
“In the run-and-shoot, we had a lot of option routes so the receivers were required to read defenses,” Robinson says. “Every week, we saw something different and had to read and react. So I’ve seen it all.”
Like all of the Redskins’ rookies, and veterans as well, Robinson is eager for the NFL’s labor dispute to be resolved so he can report to Redskins Park and begin learning the team’s offense.
It will be the first time that Robinson has lived outside of Texas. Coming out of high school, he chose SMU over Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa and Louisiana-Monroe because he wanted to remain close to home. But now Robinson has no reservations about living elsewhere.
“I’m ready for it. It’ll be a good change,” he says. “It’s the next level. New chapter.”