4. James Robinson, RB, NY Jets
As an undrafted prospect of the 2020 NFL Draft, James Robinson came into the league with a chip on his shoulder. There were 16 (!) running backs drafted that year and Robinson wasn't one of them. Nonetheless, he worked his tail off to earn the starting role in training camp before Week 1 of that season.
Only two rookies in the NFL that year rushed for over 1,000 yards: Jonathan Taylor and James Robinson. He also led all rookie running backs in receiving touchdowns (3) and was tied for thirrd in total touchdowns (10).
Robinson also broke the NFL record for most scrimmage yards by an undrafted rookie in the history of the NFL — the future was looking bright, to say the least.
Then, Urban Meyer drafted prized running back Travis Etienne with the 25th overall pick in the 2021 draft. His plan to replace Robinson was halted when Etienne required surgery on his foot and Robinson got to live another season as the lead back before tearing his own Achilles against the Jets (go figure) in Week 16 of last season.
As you hear in the answer above, with new head coach Doug Pederson in the mix in Jacksonville, Robinson thought he and Etienne would be one of the best 1-2 punches in the NFL.
Instead, they phased him out in favor of making Etienne a workhorse back before trading him to the Jets for mere peanuts. If that doesn't put a chip on someone's shoulder, I don't know what will.
As Robinson himself said, this is his fourth playbook in three seasons! so he will do his best to adjust, but we've already seen in limited action that he's out there with something to prove.
To go from getting benched on a 2-5 team to getting a key go-ahead score for a 5-3 team facing the best team in the AFC definitely sounds like a glow-up, but Robinson isn't taking it for granted.
He knows that success can be fleeting in the NFL and if he wants to earn his keep, he needs to keep producing. Luckily for the Jets, it seems he has plenty left in the tank.