Without any doubt, Patrick Robinson, the New Orleans Saints 2010 first-round selection out of Florida State, was not the shutdown-corner the Who Dat Nation hoped for when we heard his name called on Draft Day five years ago. Call him a bust? Not so fast. Admittedly, his performances in a rather large number of games were underwhelming and unsatisfactory. So, why should the Saints try to retain him? Let’s do the math.
Looking at the players under contract for next year as of today, the Black and Gold have several needs: a cornerback on the outside and a nickel Corner, an interior offensive lineman, an edge-rusher, a linebacker with coverage ability and a running back. Assuming that the Saints draft either Bud Dupree, Vic Beasley, or Shane Ray, there are still five needs remaining! We can all agree upon the necessity to acquire a Cornerback to play opposite Keenan Lewis via Free Agency. I expect the Saints to select both an inside linebacker and offensive lineman on Day 2. Whether the tandem will be e.g. Stephone Anthony and Ali Marpet or a converted tackle and Hayes Pullard remains to be seen.
That would leave the Saints front office with immediate needs at tailback and nickel corner heading into Day 3 of this year’s NFL draft. Even when counting on Sean Payton to bring in the next Pierre Thomas or Chris Ivory as an undrafted free-agent, can you really trust a fourth-round selection to play roughly 50% of the snaps? After experiencing the turmoil in our secondary in 2014, the cornerback position is the last one I’d want to gamble on if I was a front office member and wanted to keep my job. Of course, there will be intriguing options such as Quandre Diggs (Texas) or Senquez Golson (Ole Miss) to be found in the middle rounds. Still, no transition in the NFL is tougher to make than from covering college wideout to facing the likes of Julian Edelman and Randall Cobb.
Dec 15, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Patrick Robinson (21) intercepts a pass. Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Why does this leave Patrick Robinson as the best option? Robinson rebounded in an impressive fashion after a rather horrible game in Cleveland last season, defending 11 passes, according to NFL.com. As sad as it is, he tied for the team lead with two interceptions. After being “demoted” to cover the slot, he held opposing QBs to a passer rating below 60 on average. The role as a nickel corner suits him best since he’s got the necessary athleticism and with while lacking the physicality to play on the perimeter. Are there better options on the market? Yes. Are those players cheaper? No. I’d love if the Saints and Patrick Robinson agreed on a one-year-deal that allows him to earn between $1.5 and $2 million. That figures to be the amount of cap space the Saints can save by releasing Corey White. When being offered an outside corner that will have four turnovers and 11 horrible games per season or an above-average nickel corner, I’d choose the latter: Patrick Robinson.
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