Packers workout former 1,000 yard RB James Robinson and 4 others

Nov 15, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson (30) runs the football against the Green Bay Packers during the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 15, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson (30) runs the football against the Green Bay Packers during the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Green Bay Packers worked out former 1,000-yard running back James Robinson on Monday, along with four other players, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.

Robinson went undrafted in 2020 out of Illinois State and signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. That first season, Robinson ended up as the Jaguars’ go-to option in the backfield, rushing for 1,070 yards at 4.5 yards per rush with seven touchdowns. He was also active and efficient in the passing game, catching 49 of 56 passes that year at 7.0 yards per catch with three more touchdowns.

Unfortunately, in the following 2021 season, Robinson suffered an Achilles injury late in the year after totaling 767 more rushing yards at 4.7 yards per attempt with eight touchdowns. Robinson also had 31 receptions that year as well, according to PFF.

He then split time in 2022 with Jacksonville and the New York Jets after being traded there about halfway through the season. Robinson averaged just 3.9 yards per rush that season and was released by the Jets this past spring.

At the moment, the Packers are having issues with the run game, ranking 29th in yards per rush with just 3.3. This inability to move the ball on the ground with any sort of regularity is having a negative trickle-down effect to the passing game, with the Green Bay offense regularly behind the sticks and in obvious situations.

However, my guess is that the Packers aren’t looking to add Robinson to the 53-man roster at this time. I know Dillon has struggled, but I don’t see them moving on from him for Robinson, who has struggled to stick with a team over the last two seasons, and between Dillon and Aaron Jones, getting a third running back regular snaps is likely not going to be worked into the game plan.

Weekly workouts are common in the NFL and for the Packers. Green Bay could just be doing their due diligence and adding Robinson to their list of available players should an injury occur.

It is worth noting that the Packers do have a practice squad opening currently and could be looking to add Robinson in that capacity. Along with the three running backs on the active roster, Green Bay has Patrick Taylor on the practice squad, but with him being out of elevations and playing a key role on special teams and on offense as a blocker when called upon, he could be someone the Packers sign to the 53-man.

Along with Robinson, the Packers also worked out Clint Ratkovich (FB), Olakunle Fatukasi (LB), Thakarius Keyes (CB), and Christian Young (S). Again, with an opening on the practice squad after signing linebacker Kristian Welch to the active roster before last Thursday night’s game, Green Bay does have an opening and could add anyone from this group.

Here is what you need to know about these four players.

Clint Ratkovich (FB)

Ratkovich went undrafted in 2022 after spending his final season at Northern Illinois. There, he averaged 4.4 yards per rush with 13 touchdowns. He was tough to bring down, averaging 3.67 yards after contact. As a pass catcher, he caught 15 of 19 passes at 8.3 yards per catch and graded out very well as a blocker throughout his college career by PFF’s metrics. Green Bay has one fullback on the practice squad in Henry Pearson, although he has been dealing with an injury he suffered during the preseason.

Olakunle Fatukasi (LB)

Fatukasi went undrafted in 2022 out of Rutgers. He has no regular-season NFL snaps and has spent time with Tampa Bay, Denver, New England, and Kansas City. In college, Fatukasi was a sound tackler and totaled 25 pressures over five seasons while allowing 9.5 yards per catch in coverage. He also played 420 special teams snaps. With Welch on the 53-man, the Packers don’t have any practice squad linebackers.

Thakarius Keyes (CB)

Keyes was a seventh-round pick by Kansas City in 2020. He has played 88 defensive snaps in his career, 80 with the Chiefs as a rookie and eight in 2021 with Indianapolis. As a boundary cornerback, Keyes allowed five completions on seven targets at 18.8 yards per catch. He has 29 career special teams snaps in the NFL as well. Between the 53-man and having Corey Ballentine, Kiondre Thomas, and Innis Gaines on the practice squad, the Packers seem pretty well set at cornerback.

Christian Young (S)

Young went undrafted this past spring out of Arizona and signed with the Seattle Seahawks. He met virtually with Green Bay as part of the pre-draft process. Young is an experienced college player who would bring versatility to the Packers, playing all over the Wildcat defense and someone who is a willing run defender. Undrafted rookie Benny Sapp is the lone safety on the Green Bay practice squad.