SANTA CLARA, Calif. — While the 49ers will reduce rosters to the NFL's 53-man requirement by 4 p.m. Sept. 2, former Waxahachie Indian speedster Aldrick Robinson may not be one looking for a new job.
Especially after catching three of the five passes thrown his way for more than 100 yards in San Francisco's two preseason games.
First-year Head Coach Kyle Shanahan, a former Atlanta offensive coordinator, plucked Robinson off the Falcons' roster in March and to the tune of a two-year, $6 million contract.
The two were also together in Washington — where Shanahan was also the offensive coordinator — from 2011 to 2014. They were rejoined during the Falcons' 2016 Super Bowl run.
Brian Hoyer may be under fire after tossing interceptions in back-to-back series during Saturday night's 33-14 loss to the Denver Broncos. Robinson, however, has remained steady in both his preseason appearances — despite shaky play by both quarterbacks and wide receivers.
Quarterbacks Hoyer and rookie C.J. Bethard combined for 15-for-23 passing for 199 yards and a touchdown and an interception on a bobbled reception attempt by Marquise Goodwin.
“When you look at each situation,” Shanahan said after Monday's post-practice presser, “especially when you talk about the (starters) on offense, it takes 11 guys to execute a play. And if you have one guy off a little bit, it breaks down. And when you look at the opportunities the starters had, it really was one guy here and there.”
Robinson hauled in two passes for 83 yards on four targets during the 24-17 preseason win over the Chiefs on Aug. 11 — not including a holding call on offensive lineman Aaron Burbridge that nullified a touchdown catch.
He pulled in a looping 39-yard pass, his only target of the game, from Bethard on Saturday against Denver. Goodwin had 44 yards on three receptions and four targets.
The Waxahachie-bred receiver had 323 yards and two touchdowns on 20 receptions and 32 targets in 2016 and 931 yards and seven touchdowns on 50 receptions and 100 targets during his four-year career.
Robinson also has a career 18.6 yards-per-catch average.
“Aldrick is just a solid receiver. He’s got a lot of speed,” Shanahan said per 49ers.com in March. “He backed up Julio Jones for us in Atlanta. When he was out, Aldrick came in and did his job. He can run all the routes. He’s a guy who can be valuable for us.”
After graduating from the Gingerbread City's premier institution, he set Southern Methodist University records. Robinson finished second in the program with 3,314 career receiving yards and 181 career receptions are the fourth highest in program history.
He, too, ranked second in career touchdowns with 30.
Robinson looks to compete for time with Pierre Garçon, who signed a five-year, $47 million deal March 8, Marquise Goodwin a Shanahan hand-picked free-agent acquisition and Jeremy Kerley, the team's leading receiver in 2016 and the only receiver retained by Shanahan and his staff.
There is also Trent Taylor — recently nicknamed "Toe Tap" by Robinson for a recent run of impressive catches — in the mix for field time. He was the only wide receiver San Francisco drafted during the offseason.
Robinson, though, was also chosen by Shanahan, after being poached by the 49ers because of his speed and familiarity with the offensive scheme.
And though his relationship with and knowledge of San Francisco's new sideline leader may play a part on where he falls on the depth chart, he is also helped by the league's elimination of a first cut-down period forcing teams to trim their roster to 75 before the final preseason game.
Per a May report by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the decision gives about 480 players the opportunity to remain on rosters until the deadline. Teams will now face one set of cuts following the preseason, from a 90-man roster to a 53-man.