The Giants added Central Florida cornerback Aaron Robinson to the roster with their 2021 third-round pick. What role could he assume?
They must’ve, or else they wouldn’t have traded up to No. 71 overall to select the Central Florida cornerback this offseason.
Robinson certainly adds firepower to a Giants defensive backfield that’s loaded ahead of the 2021 season. But that doesn’t mean he’ll assume the most significant of roles in the secondary — the rookie’s development will take some time.
The initial chances of a starting job are slim
I’m not saying Robinson doesn’t possess the ability to eventually start in an NFL secondary — the potential is present.
But Aaron is joining a Giants roster at a time when the organization already employs answers for the two starting outside cornerback spots, the slot corner role, and the two safety positions.
Following moves made during the 2019, 2020, and 2021 offseasons, the Giants are slated to field Pro Bowler James Bradberry and 2021 free-agent acquisition Adoree’ Jackson on the outside as well as Darnay Holmes in the slot. A Logan Ryan-Jabrill Peppers safety tandem is additionally present and one of the more versatile in the entire league.
This is an exciting time for the Giants when it comes to that area of the field — a concrete unit that possesses great potential to succeed in a heavy passing league is finally in place. It’s what will keep Robinson on the outskirts of the starting lineup at least initially.
A reserve role on the horizon
However, you must not forget depth is extremely critical in the defensive backfield; this is why the Giants acquired Robinson. There’s a chance Aaron could be the top reserve corner behind Bradberry, Jackson, and Holmes.
His main competition for that type of role?
Julian Love and Isaac Yiadom — two players Robinson could totally find himself ahead of on the depth chart.
Following two whole seasons, Love still hasn’t located a consistent role and it doesn’t seem the coaching staff is incredibly high on him. He could’ve been a starting safety alongside Peppers in 2020 but the Giants drafted Xavier McKinney and subsequently signed Logan Ryan instead. He also could’ve spent time at slot corner before Holmes assumed that role and the same goes with the outside corner spot opposite Bradberry prior to the signing of Jackson in March.
Any time it seems Love’s overall responsibilities could expand, the Giants move in a different direction.
Yiadom, on the other hand, started much of last season (10 games) but certainly struggled at times and recorded a poor 56.8 Pro Football Focus grade. He could see some time in nickel/dime packages if he makes the final roster, but the Giants will likely look to get more out of Robinson given the difference in investments made (New York traded up to draft Robinson in the third round in April while it only gave Denver a seventh-round pick for Yiadom last September).
It’s tough to imagine Robinson in the starting lineup right off the bat — the only way that would possibly occur is if any expected starter suffered an injury in the preseason. Nonetheless, anticipate the rookie potentially being a top reserve, which could lead to him finding time on definite passing downs.