Ever since the New York Giants drafted UCF cornerback Aaron Robinson, many have undermined the pick, saying the Giants should have picked an offensive lineman. Ben Cleveland, along with other valuable mid-round talents, was available for the Giants to take at 71. The unhappiness increased as training camp went on because Robinson injured his abdomen during training camp, causing him to go on the PUP list. He remained there for the first seven weeks of the 2021 season. As for the offensive line, the Giants suffered in both the passing game and rushing the ball.
Aaron Robinson Could Be a Steal
After returning from injury, Robinson played minimal snaps in the slot against the Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But the rookie’s big break came last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. After two cornerbacks left with injuries, Aaron Robinson took on the task of outside and slot cornerback and did well and even broke up a few passes.
Week 12 Versus Philadelphia Eagles
By this point in the season, Aaron Robinson had already started earning snaps as a slot cornerback, rotating with Darnay Holmes. Robinson’s opportunity increased when Adoree Jackson left last Sunday’s game with a quad injury and Holmes left with an injury to his ribs.
Robinson rotated with Julian Love in the slot, but played mostly on the outside, opposite James Bradberry. For a rookie third-round pick who had played minimal snaps in the weeks prior, Robinson played outstanding. After giving up a big reception to Quez Watkins along the right sideline, the rookie tightened up his game and got more physical at the line of scrimmage. He followed Jalen Reagor for a lot of the game and was covering him on Xavier McKinney‘s interception. Robinson broke up a pass on fourth down and two more that were intended for Reagor,and helped Big Blue’s defense make a key stand.
In total, the former UCF Knight gave up one completion on six targets and allowed a passer rating of 40.2. He also has plenty of experience as a run defender. Despite the Giants defense giving up 202 yards to the Eagles on the ground, Robinson earned a 79.8 tackling grade and a 73.1 run defense grade from Pro Football Focus. Robinson seemed to resemble Janoris Jenkins in his prime with Big Blue.
Rest of the Season
The New York Giants traded up to draft Robinson in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft for many reasons. His run defense and physicality are two of the many positive attributes of his game. Robinson is versatile and he can play both man and zone coverage. He can also play in the slot, on the outside, and in the box.
Darnay Holmes has looked decent in the slot this year for Big Blue, but Robinson offers the tough physicality needed to drop into man coverage. In that case, Patrick Graham would be able to trust his cornerbacks even more, if he needs to stack the box against a run-heavy team like the Eagles. With Holmes likely out the next few weeks with a rib injury, Robinson may be able to take the spot for good.
Battling against Jaylen Waddle, Albert Wilson, CeeDee Lamb, and other slot receivers will be a tough task for Aaron Robinson. But if he showcases anything close to the production he did last Sunday, the Giants may have found a diamond in the rough.