Lost in the fold is newly acquired wide receiver Laurent Robinson. For the next two weeks majority of the media and the fans will discuss Tony Romo, but the player that should be receiving buzz is Laurent Robinson. For the past two seasons the Cowboys have lacked a true #3 wide receiver. After only two games, Robinson appears to be the missing piece we have been searching for at wide receiver.
When the Cowboys signed Robinson I was pretty excited about the acquisition. Robinson is a player that caught my eye a few years ago and has always been a fantasy football teaser/sleeper. The reason this guy has never caught on with a team yet is health, if he can stay healthy we might have found ourselves a gem.
The Atlanta Falcons drafted Robinson in the third round of the 2007 NFL draft. Robinson was a highly touted prospect out of Illinois State (we like Illinois guys) and the Falcons were looking for a guy to stretch the field. At 6'2 194, Robinson has the height/speed combo many teams desire. He ran a 4.38 40 yard dash at the combine and had a 39 inch vertical jump. The athletic skills are all there, he just needs to stay healthy and consistent.
Robinson has bounced around from the Falcons, to the Rams, to the Chargers and finally to the Cowboys. I remember when he was signed that people were hesitant to believe in a guy who has been with 4 NFL teams in 5 years, but he is extremely talented. Actually I think it's funny that we released him the first time and had to pay him his entire salary for the season, only to bring him back a few weeks later. Fortunately for us, Robinson was still out there and wasn't picked up by a NFL team.
This guy is exactly what the Cowboys have been looking for the past few years. You can date this back to Patrick Crayton, even though he is a totally different type of wide receiver. The Cowboys have truly lacked a slot wide receiver that could stretch the field and make big plays. We have also lacked depth at the wide receiver position and Robinson has the skills to start outside or inside. This guy can be really good, I mean seriously good. He has the speed to go deep, but runs the inside routes as a slot wide receiver. He has the height to go up and get the football.
Ultimately he is the present and future at the #3 wide receiver position. Kevin Ogletree is done folks, stick a fork in him. Personally I felt two weeks ago against the Redskins Ogletree was done. Ogletree has had opportunity after opportunity to seize the #3 wide receiver role, but he consistently never takes advantage of it. In comes Laurent Robinson, off the street and with little knowledge of our system, and lights it up out there. When a player gets an opportunity like that, he knows he has to seize the moment. Robinson did exactly that why Ogletree watches on and wonders why he can't do that.
Against the Redskins Robinson had 3 catches for 49 yards, including a smart play on a botched snap where he came back for the football. This is exactly the smart type of play Ogletree will never understand. Robinson attacks the football and goes back to it. Ogletree lets the ball come to him and doesn't attack it. It seems simple but a lot of wide receivers don't understand that you have to come back for the football and fight for it.
Robinson had his breakout game, maybe of his career against the Lions last Sunday. He torched the Lions secondary for 7 catches and 116 yards. That is over 16 yards per reception and had a great catch on a 44 yard post that set us up in the redzone. Ogletree has 224 yards in his CAREER, while Robinson had 116 in one game. I don't like to use stats that often, but look at how productive Robinson has been in two games. Ogletree has never even sniffed that type of production in his 3 year career here.
Perhaps the most telling stat is the number of targets Robinson received. Tony Romo targeted Robinson for a team high 10 targets (Witten had 10 also) and that tells me Romo obviously trusts his new toy. I find that immensely impressive that a guy off the street was targeted 10 times, while a player in the system for 3 years was targeted only twice. I have been telling people that Laurent Robinson was the real deal.
In two weeks we face the New England Patriots on the road and this Patriots team has not lost at home since 2008. Getting Miles Austin and Dez Bryant back healthy is a huge factor in this offenses success for the rest of the season. Now not only do we have 2 true #1 wide receivers, we now have a legitimate option in Robinson as our #3 wide receiver. Then you factor in the best tight end in football, now that is a high octane powered offense.
For years I have wanted the Cowboys to draft a speedster in the slot to stretch the field. As it turns out, all we had to do was get a recommendation from Chargers head coach Norv Turner that Laurent Robinson was a talented football player that needed an opportunity in the right system. This system is just right for Robinson, sometimes a system takes a football player's skills and allows him the opportunity to put on display his immense talents to the world. Laurent Robinson has found a home in the NFL for the first time since being drafted in 2007. The new #81 is Laurent Robinson. Welcome home Mr. Robinson, welcome home kid.