The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t officially announced the trade yet, but the acquisition of wide receiver Allen Robinson is, for all intents and purposes, complete. He joins a group in Pittsburgh headed by Diontae Johnson and George Pickens as the only reliable known commodities. But what can he deliver?
Generally speaking, analysts around the league have been rather bullish about the move for the Steelers. You can include Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus in that camp, who recently described it as “a low-risk, potentially really-high-upside move” in comments made to Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller on 93.7 The Fan.
“The payoff of what Allen Robinson could be is still huge”, he argued. “He’s two years removed from being one of the better receivers in the league back in 2020. I know that’s like an eternity in the NFL sometimes, but I think it’s absolutely worth a shot, because the high end of Allen Robinson is still really good”.
A former second-round pick out of Penn State, Robinson caught 200 passes for 2397 yards and 13 touchdowns with the Chicago Bears between the 2019-20 seasons, playing primarily with Mitch Trubisky as his quarterback. Since then, he’s played with a rookie Justin Fields, an armless Matthew Stafford, and John Woolford.
“Robinson pretty much since junior high hasn’t really played with too many good quarterbacks”, Palazzolo pointed out, noting the role better quarterback play could have on his production. He didn’t mention Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett by name, however, or talk about the team’s passing game much at all. But he did talk about what he thinks the receiver can still do in year 10.
“I think Robinson is good at the catch point”, he said. “He can still run routes. If he is gonna be used as more of an underneath threat or a complementary threat to say a George Pickens, I think that’s fine. I think he can win in different ways”.
Robinson played in only 10 games last season for the Los Angeles Rams after signing a three-year contract as a free agent. Rams reporter Jourdan Rodrigue argues that the relationship was doomed to failure from the beginning, nevermind his injury, and Palazzolo agreed that he wasn’t really a fit in Sean McVay’s system.
“I do think Allen Robinson probably thrives when it’s like, ‘Hey, you’re the one-on-one guy on the backside, go win one on one, we’ll throw it to you down the field, we’ll just let you beat your man one on one’”, he said. He also noted that he was trending in the right direction before his season ended due to injury.
Still, he has only played in more than 12 games in a season three times in the past six years, and not since 2020, so availability and general health are a consideration. But most concur that the risks are outweighed by the potential rewards. The Steelers aren’t bringing in Robinson to compete as a number one receiver, mind you, but if he can deliver WR1 plays in a WR3 role when they need him to, who would complain? “Not I”, said the goose.