Every year, there is just about one player that performs better than the expectations placed on him. Whether it be a newly-signed free agent, a rookie, or even a player that is benefiting from a new offensive or defensive coordinator.
Last year, it was WR Jeremy Kerley. He finished the season with 667 yards receiving and three touchdowns after being traded to the San Francisco 49ers from the Detroit Lions for OG Brandon Thomas.
This upcoming season, the player to exceed expectations will be WR Aldrick Robinson.
Robinson is one of the players that followed head coach Kyle Shanahan from previous stops with the Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons. During those years under Shanahan, Robinson averaged just about 20 yards per reception and his seven career touchdowns all came under the new 49ers' head coach. Don’t let his small size fool you, he plays bigger than his listed height and plays on the outside -- not just a tiny, slot guy.
So, what does the ex-Falcons' receiver bring to this offense? Robinson brings the ability to stretch the field opposite WR Pierre Garçon and will keep the opposing defenses honest.
Let's take a look at few of Robinson's plays that demonstrate these abilities:
On this play, you see Robinson's ability to create separation from the defensive backs. On this simply play, he is able to pick up an easy 10 yards.
The 49ers' wide receiver makes a huge play here. What would have been a 10-15 yard post route, Robinson breaks a tackle and reverses field for 40-50 yards.
This should have been a touchdown, but WR Aaron Burbridge gets called for offensive pass interference. Shanahan calls a play-action bootleg to the left side, Robinson comes across the field to follow QB Matt Barkley, and makes a great play in traffic. He may be 28 years old, but Robinson seems poised for a very good year under Shanahan and this explosive offense.