The drafting of Wan’Dale Robinson in the second round by the New York Giants raised some eyebrows in other NFL teams’ draft war rooms. Robinson is a rare athlete who can be a lethal dual threat in the running and passing game. New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen selected someone who fits into the Giants offense because he can make plays with his feet.
Robinson’s Strengths Could Revive The Giants Offense
At the moment, Robinson is not an every-down contributor, but he could make an impact on jet sweeps, reverses, bubble screens and slant routes from the slot position. Robinson is dangerous when he gets the ball out in space and puts his speed to good use. He is fast, elusive and maintains good balance after an initial hit from an incoming defender.
The Giants clearly had Robinson high on their draft board and are confident he can reach or exceed projected statistical expectations. Some even read him to be a slot receiver. Yet, at 5’8″, 178 lbs Robinson can be utilized in several positions. His college resume screams of him making an impact from anywhere on the field.
The goal is to get Robinson 1,000 combined yards in 2022. He can achieve these lofty expectations by catching 50-plus balls for 500-600 receiving yards and gaining the remainder as a backup running back. The Giants hope to pencil him for 15-20 touches per game next season.
Robinson is not a perennial 1,000-yard runner; however he has a set number of carries to be effective as a complementary back. Robinson gives the Giants a receiving option coming out of the backfield on certain offensive sets. Moreover, his speed could make him the team’s main kickoff and punt returner.
Giants Attracted to Robinson’s Productivity and Versatility
Productivity has never been a problem for Wan’Dale Robinson. He evolved into a running back/ wide receiver hybrid player during his two years at Nebraska, where he recorded 540 rushing yards with four touchdowns. A change of scenery was necessary for Robinson. He was not fulfilling his offensive potential with the Cornhuskers. Thus, he chose to go back home and play his junior season at Kentucky.
In his lone season with the Wildcats, Robinson set school records for most catches (104), most receiving yards (1,334 yards) and most 100-yard receiving games (6) in a single season. He accounted for nearly 45 percent of Kentucky’s offensive production. After the season, Robinson elected to make himself available for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Robinson’s on-field success came under the tutelage of Wildcats offensive coordinator Liam Coen, who brought a unique pro-style offense to a school primarily known as an SEC basketball power. Together, Robinson and Coen brought some recognition to the Kentucky football program that attracted attention from the national media. Rewarded for their effort, both will be toiling in the NFL next fall – Robinson in New York and Coen as the Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator.
A necessary component in Giants head coach Brian Daboll’s offense is receivers who are hard runners after the catch. Robinson is tough to knock off his feet as a ball-carrier. There is no question, Robinson understands the sacrifice needed to make an impact in his rookie season. The Giants hope his production will be impossible to match in 2022.