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Allen Robinson shows he has potential to be among Jaguars' WR greats

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Mariota, Robinson earn game balls from Titans win over Jaguars (2:08)

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota and Jaguars wide receiver earned game balls from ESPN team reporters for their play in the Titans 42-39 win Sunday at Nissan Stadium. (2:08)

NASHVILLE -- Allen Robinson is having one of the greatest seasons by a wide receiver in Jacksonville Jaguars history.

It's a sign he has the potential to possibly become one of the franchise's greatest receivers.

Right now that's a two-person conversation, with one name clearly atop the other. Jimmy Smith is Jacksonville's all-team leader in receptions (862), receiving yards (12,287) and receiving touchdowns (67). He had nine 1,000-yard seasons, including seven in a row, and owns the top five seasons in terms of receiving yards.

Keenan McCardell is second in receptions (499), receiving yards (6,393) and receiving touchdowns (30). He had four 1,000-yard campaigns and caught more than 80 balls in a season four times.

Robinson is only a second-year player who hasn't even played a full season, but he is putting up numbers that are comparable to what Smith and McCardell produced in their prime.

"He's definitely special," quarterback Blake Bortles said.

That came after Robinson's monster performance in the Jaguars' 42-39 loss to the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. With Allen Hurns out due to a concussion and Rashad Greene sidelined the entire second half with a shoulder injury, Robinson caught 10 passes for 153 yards and three touchdowns, which tied Smith's record for most receiving touchdowns in a game.

All of those touchdown catches came in the second half after the Jaguars trailed 21-12. None was longer than eight yards, and they were rather ho-hum catches by Robinson's standards. He didn't have to outleap or outfight a defensive back for the ball in the end zone; he did that on catches of 36 and 31 yards. Those dramatic grabs have become regular occurrences this season.

"When that ball's in the air, I expect him to come down with it," receiver Bryan Walters said. "That's just what he's done all year, and he's that kind of an athlete.

"I used to [say, 'Wow']. Now it's just like, 'All right, cool, there's A-Rob making another play.' It's been fun to watch, especially throughout the year, him develop like that and now become that extremely consistent in making jump balls and catching over defenders. It's impressive."

That is what makes Robinson different from Smith and McCardell. They didn't have Robinson's size (6-3, 215 pounds) and didn't thrive on 50-50 balls the way he does. In fact, he's so good at bringing them down that his teammates call him 75-25. In other words, they believe he has a 75 percent chance of catching those throws.

"I don't mind going after the 50-50 balls," Robinson said. "Just the confidence that they have in me to go out there and make a play for our team, I can't speak enough on that.

"I just appreciate the guys continuing to call my number and give me the chance to go up and make plays. Just thankful for Coach Olly [offensive coordinator Greg Olson] for them dialing up the calls. I wouldn't be able to do it without Blake giving me the opportunity."

Robinson is on pace to catch 87 passes for 1,440 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. That would be one of the best seasons in team history, with the sixth-most catches and the second-most yards -- and he already owns the record for most receiving touchdowns (11). He is already 14th in receiving yards (1,628) and 15th in receptions (113) in team history after just 22 games.

Robinson has a long way to go before he can even be mentioned with Smith and McCardell, but there's no doubt he has the talent to start down that road. If he can stay healthy and remain productive, it may not be long before the comparisons begin.

"He's unbelievable," Bortles said. "He's superintelligent, and he's an unbelievable teammate. He's going to accomplish, I think, a ton of things in his career, and he'll be the most humble guy doing it the whole time."