NFL

Deep dive on Aaron Robinson’s rookie season and how he can impact Giants in 2022

Aaron Robinson treated image with helmet on

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the 2021 seasons for the Giants’ 2021 rookie class. We begin with a look at Aaron Robinson, who was taken in the third round out of UCF.

Addressing the secondary early in the 2021 NFL Draft wasn’t really a necessity for the Giants. They already had James Bradberry in place, while also adding Adoree’ Jackson in free agency.

But depth is never a bad thing at that position and the Giants clearly liked the man they took out of UCF, trading up in the third round to select him 71st overall.

Robinson, standing at 6-foot-1, 193 pounds, is a physical corner that likes to initiate contact at the line and play strong through the ball every play. The effort was certainly there and scouts thought he was NFL ready after spending four years at Central Florida.

Robinson, though, wasn’t a key factor to start his rookie campaign. But that quickly changed when the defense began to turn in the right direction.

Let’s take a look at Robinson’s rookie season and how he can build on it to help the Giants in 2022:

Landing on the PUP list

The last thing any rookie wants to begin their career? Injuries.

But Robinson was an unfortunate PUP-placed player, as he needed core muscle surgery in training camp that would keep him out 3-8 weeks.

So forget trying to make the team. Robinson just needed to get healthy.

He eventually did and would finally make his NFL debut in Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs — a tough task for any veteran, let alone a rookie. He only played a few snaps in the slot and that was that. The Giants were easing him into the league, as they should have.

Get Physical

As we mentioned, Robinson’s play is strong at the line of scrimmage. He wants to disrupt the receiver the second the ball is snapped, in turn throwing them off a rhythm in their route.

Sometimes, though, those corners get beat if they don’t defend properly, and of course, Robinson knows that.

But Robinson wasn’t getting beat badly. Receivers would catch the ball but not go far. According to Pro Football Focus, in Weeks 11 and 12 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively, Robinson played a total 67 snaps with 42 dropping back into coverage. He allowed a single yard after the catch and only two receptions on eight targets for a total of 32 yards.

Robinson would get beat a little more against the Miami DolphinsJaylen Waddle will do that to people on those crossing routes — but Robinson was still showing tons of effort and only allowed 48 yards, which isn’t a horrible mark. He collected a pass breakup, too.

Patrick Graham and the defensive staff clearly liked what they saw out of Robinson, as he saw more and more snaps as the games went by.

Impact in 2022

After getting a taste of the NFL, Robinson is primed to make more of an impact in 2022 — granted he can stay on the field. It didn’t help his case that he had to miss the start of the year, but he still had some god reps to look back and improve on.

As for the secondary situation, it remains somewhat fluid at the moment. Needing to clear cap, Joe Schoen knows he may have to make tough decisions, which could include trying to move Bradberry. Jackson seems to be the only solidified corner at the moment, with Bradberry’s cap hit a big one on the Giants’ books.

Also, while Darnay Holmes has proved to be a solid slot corner, the position isn’t set in stone. Robinson’s versatility allows him to play anywhere and the slot could be one of those areas.

New DC Don “Wink” Martindale should like what Robinson brings to the table. Martindale’s blitz-heavy scheme needs tough 1-on-1 corners, and though Robinson was beat at times, he made it very tough to haul in footballs in just nine games of work. Imagine what a full training camp and preseason could do for him to start 2022.

I think Robinson has certainly solidified a spot as the next man up on the corners depth chart, but there is a chance that training camp competition could see him slide into a more prominent role next season. It’s all about putting some more PBUs on tape and earning the trust of the new coaching staff.

The Giants, though, should be happy with that trade up to get Robinson. He’s got some untapped potential to work with.


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