Trying to make sense of a weird Day 2 by the NY Giants

NY Giants (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
NY Giants (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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Day 1 of the NFL draft saw the NY Giants select two of the top, most well-known talents in the whole draft. The first-round was widely considered a home run by Giants fans, landing both Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal with picks 5 and 7 overall respectively.

Some of the optimism felt by the fanbase faded on Day 2, as Joe Schoen and the Giants selected three players significantly higher than consensus rankings had the trio. With the term “reach” certainly featuring in media circles and Twitter communities after Day 2 for the Giants, let’s break down each pick and try to make sense of Schoen’s draft strategy.

NY Giants Round 2 (43 overall) Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky

A wide receiver was certainly a need for this Giants roster and taking one in the second round wasn’t considered a bad strategy. The player, however, is where Giants fans and media alike were slightly confused. With receivers such as Alec Pierce, Skyy Moore, and George Pickens still available, the Giants selected Wan’Dale Robinson out of Kentucky.

The main reason the pick has received so much criticism is the physical profile of Robinson. He reported to the combine at 5-foot-8 and 178 lbs, certainly smaller than many NFL receivers. Often a shorter receiver comes with the “gadget” label, a role many expect Kadarius Toney to fill for this offense.

In the Jason Garrett system, Giants fans are used to seeing, this pick would likely be a disaster. The past few years the team has failed to play to the strengths of its receivers and has been outright uninspiring in every aspect of the offense.

Two teams who have successfully utilized a wide variety of receiver types, however, are the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills- the former teams of offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and head coach Brian Daboll.

Daboll had success in Buffalo with 5-foot-8 receiver Isaiah McKenzie, including a game this past season where he caught 7 balls for 125 yards and a touchdown. In terms of Robinson himself, he transferred to Kentucky ahead of the 2021 season and proceeded to set the school record for receiving yards in a single season. He had a monster 1,342 yards at an average of almost 13 yards per catch culminating in seven touchdowns.

While it will likely be a point of this offense to utilize specific schemes to get the ball to Robinson, according to PFF he had 16 deep catches and 9 contested catches in 2021, statistics many would not expect from just a “gadget” receiver. The speed and evasiveness both he and Toney possess have the potential to cause serious headaches for opposition defensive coordinators.

Between the pair of receivers and also Sterling Shepard, the Giants have a number of versatile options that can offer production in more ways than one. Paired with the contested catch threat of Golladay, Kafka and Daboll have an arsenal of weapons at their disposal, and the track record to suggest they will utilize them.

It is fair enough to have concerns with the size of Robinson. However, the way in which the coaching staff now present in New York has utilized different offensive weapons should bring hope that this Giants offense could really benefit from a player of Robinson’s skill set.

It is also certainly clear that Schoen and the team have committed to bringing in players at all positions who contribute in multiple ways, something which the Giants teams of old certainly lacked.