If there were ever a time for Broncos wide receiver Gerrel Robinson to play well, it was Thursday night when Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Wes Welker were on the sideline against the Cardinals in week four of preseason play.
The 6’4″, 220-pound Robinson really gelled with his former Arizona State teammate, Brock Osweiler, catching three first half passes for 70 yards. Then, when Zac Dysert entered the game in the second half, Robinson caught a beautifully thrown over-the-shoulder ball for a 25-yard touchdown. When all was said and done, Robinson had a game high, five catches for 99 yards.
“Gerell Robinson had a huge game and it was a lot of fun reconnecting with him on the field,” Osweiler said. “Obviously we had quite a few completions in our career at ASU together.”
During Robinson’s senior year with Osweiler, he caught 77 passes for 1,397 yards and had seven touchdowns. His receiving yards were the second-highest single-season total in ASU history.
“Gerell is always coming up, (saying) ‘Hey, if you need someone to throw to, I’ll be open. Don’t worry about it.’ But that goes back to when I was a freshman in college,” Osweiler said. “But the thing with Gerell is I can trust him. I know he’s going to make the catch. I know he’s going to get open, he’s going to make that tough catch. I can’t tell you how many times in college I threw a tough ball and he got hit as he was bringing it in, and he always came down with it.”
Robinson entered the NFL as a college free agent in 2012. He spent last preseason with the Broncos until he was cut and the Cardinals signed him to their practice squad.
It was clear that Robinson worked closely with Larry Fitzgerald last season. Robinson’s Thursday night performance was just what he needed to make a strong case for the Broncos adding him to the 53-man roster.
Before Thursday evening, he was extremely quiet in preseason. He had two catches for 2 yards against the 49ers and one catch for 5 yards against the Seahawks. Last week, he had just one catch for 7 yards against the Rams.
While Robinson’s 99-yard night may come as a shock if one only looks at his preseason stats, he sure hadn’t been quiet in training camp. He made some very impressive grabs against first and second team defenders in team drills nearly everyday.
The Broncos absolutely have to consider taking Robinson over rookie Tavarres King. Right now the Broncos are virtually locked into Thomas, Decker, Welker, Andre Caldwell, and Trindon Holliday (for special teams purposes). The team now has to decide whether to go with Robinson or King.
King showed some alligator arms in camp and dropped quite a few passes. At 6’0″, 191 pounds he’s also much smaller than Robinson. In college at Georgia, he never had a 1,000 yard season. Still, the Broncos took him in the fifth round of the 2013 draft.
If one of the team’s Big-3 receivers goes down with an injury, Robinson (along with Caldwell) is the more natural replacement. Sometimes roster building has to be based on a worse case scenario. Either way, Robinson will take if it comes.