Overlooked NY Giants cornerback dubbed a breakout candidate in 2022
By Jerry Trotta
The New York Giants are expected to take a major step forward this season in their journey back to relevancy. The chief reasons behind that? The improvements general manager Joe Schoen made in the trenches this offseason.
While not fully rebuilt yet, the offensive line has shed its dreadful label and should be more serviceable following the additions of No. 7 overall pick Evan Neal and free agents Mark Glowinski and Jon Feliciano.
On the other side of the ball, the Giants added Kayvon Thibodeaux to an already-talented defensive line. With Thibodeuax, Dexter Lawrence, Azeez Ojulari and Leonard Williams, New York has the building blocks of a strong defense.
Of course, the ceiling of the defense in 2022 will hinge on the performance of the secondary, which lost some valuable veterans in James Bradberry and Logan Ryan, both of whom became cap casualties (thanks Dave Gettleman).
Like the DL, the Giants boast promising pieces in the secondary, including Xavier McKinney, Adoree Jackson and Julian Love.
For the secondary to exceed expectations, though, they’ll need an overlooked player to step up. According to Rivers McCown of Football Outsiders, that player is second-year cornerback Aaron Robinson.
Is Aaron Robinson poised to break out for the NY Giants?
In a recent article (subscription required), McCown compiled a list of the NFL’s top under-the-radar prospects who could break out in 2022. Robinson, drafted in the third round of the 2021 draft, checked in at No. 15 out of 25 players.
According to McCown, Robinson only allowed 5.6 yards per snap as a rookie and owned the highest success rate on passes (58%) of any Giants defensive back not named Adoree Jackson. Pretty impressive for a third-round rookie.
"“With the late-offseason release of James Bradberry, Robinson currently is the best bet the Giants have at outside corner,” McCown said of Robinson. “It feels a bit like they’re shoehorning him in and that it could be a trial by fire with the lack of an established talent who actually has an outside corner build on the roster.”"
Robinson only played 43% of the snaps last season, but he’s going to see a lot more playing time (mostly on the outside) with no Bradberry. In an admittedly limited sample size, the former UFC star finished with three passes defended while allowing 9.6 yards per catch and a 84.4 passer rating, per PFF.
Not bad numbers by any stretch of the imagination.
In a vacuum, it’s easy to see why McCown views Robinson as a breakout candidate. The Giants could always move him back inside – where he mostly played in college – if the boundary experiment doesn’t go according to plan, but the fact he’s being entrusted in the latter role speaks volumes to what Wink Martindale thinks of him.