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Jaguars RB Robinson in the mix for top rookie honor

James Robinson of the Jacksonville Jaguars carries the ball during the first half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at TIAA Bank Field on November 22, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) (JULIO AGUILAR, 2020 Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jaguars running back James Robinson has made the cut for a season-ending top rookie award.

On Friday, Robinson was one of five finalists named in the Pepsi Zero Sugar NFL Rookie of the Year race. Robinson’s 1,070 rushing yards rank as the second most in franchise history by a rookie. Only Fred Taylor’s 1,223 in 1998 are in front of Robinson.

Along with Robinson, San Diego quarterback Justin Herbert, Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson, Colts running back Jonathan Taylor and Washington defensive end Chase Young are finalists.

Robinson had 10 total touchdowns (seven on the ground, three receiving) for Jacksonville in 2020, despite missing the final two games with an ankle injury. The undrafted rookie from Illinois State was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month in September after a stellar start to the season. Robinson put his name in the conversation as the top undrafted rookie running back ever.

His 1,414 yards from scrimmage are the most by an undrafted rookie in the common-draft era. Robinson’s 10 touchdowns mark just the third time in that time frame that an undrafted player has hit that mark. Running backs Phillip Lindsay and Dominic Rhodes reached that number with the Broncos and Colts, respectively.

After a 1-15 season, Jaguars fans probably shouldn’t get their hopes up though.

A Jacksonville rookie has never claimed any top rookie award. Quarterback Gardner Minshew won seven Pepsi Rookie of the Week honors in 2019 and didn’t even make the cut to be a finalist.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.