In 2013, tight end was an area of weakness for the New York Giants. Brandon Myers was brought in after a successful 2012 season with the Oakland Raiders, but struggled mightily with the Giants. His lack of blocking skill hurt the Giants offense, and he did not have the impactthe Giants hoped he would have. They did little to the tight-end position during the offseason, instead putting their trust into the unproven Adrien Robinson.
The 2012 fourth-round pick of out Cincinnati has yet to make a name for himself in the NFL, constantly battling injuries. He has appeared in only three games in two seasons, not even having a pass thrown at him yet. He did not even produce much in college, registering only 29 receptions for 434 yards and five touchdowns in four seasons with the Bearcats.
While his production leaves much to be desired, Robinson had a freakish combination of athleticism and size. Standing at 6-foot-4, 264 pounds, he has outstanding top-end speed with very soft hands. The Giants knew that Robinson would need time to develop not only as a receiver, but as an in-line blocker as well. Robinson was raw, but the tools were there.
What really got Giants fans riled up was when GM Jerry Reese made a loose comparison to Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants 2010 first-round draft pick that had a breakout season in 2012. Reese said Robinson was the “JPP of tight ends,” which many people took literally. What Reese was really saying is Robinson is very raw, but if given time can turn into something special. It is sentiment many analysts shared as well, as many people thought the Giants had a major steal on their hands with Robinson.
Robinson has been able to learn for two seasons on the bench, and the Giants are ready to give him a legitimate chance. But at the same time, he needs to earn it and he has yet to be able to do that during spring practices.
Robinson has been running with the first team thus far, but that continuing throughout training camp and into the regular season is far from a guarantee. Reese said just over a week ago that the tight end position will be used as a committee, as no one is distinguishing themselves from the pack. He will be sure to have plenty of competition from free-agent addition Kellen Davis, but in the long term has a brighter outlook. Davis is a superior blocker but has not shown any difference-making ability in the passing game.
Some other players to keep an eye on are UDFA Xavier Grimble, Larry Donnell and Daniel Fells. In addition to Robinson and Davis, all three will have a chance to showcase they should be the starter and receive playing time. If no one truly sets themselves apart, the Giants could dip into free agency for a veteran such as Jermichael Finley or Dustin Keller.
While he has not yet set himself apart, Robinson will be given every opportunity to do so in training camp. The physical tools are there, it is now just a matter of him putting it together. For the Giants to find success from the tight end position this season, Robinson is the best bet to give it to them from players currently on the roster.