April 22, 2010

Patrick Robinson, Cornerback, Florida State

Patrick Robinson, cornerback, Florida State, 32nd overall pick
5'11, 190, 4.51 40

Drew Brees was the first active NFL player to ever call a draft pick when he announced the Saints' 32nd overall pick, Florida State athlete Patrick Robinson.

This pick is a clear sign that the Saints are insulating themselves for the potential loss of free agent Darren Sharper.  With Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter and Randall Gay at cornerback, Robinson will push Malcolm Jenkins and Usama Young further into the safety positions.  Both Jenkins and Young were backup cornerbacks and safeties last year.

"Certainly, its a position we value and a position that's been valued in our league," Sean Payton said after the pick was announced, curious terminology.  Payton went on to say that he was "very productive at Florida State," though Robinson had only seven interceptions in his career but none as a senior and only one as a junior.

"We're excited about another young corner... I do think that cornerback was a position that we'd like to address. We went through some injuries and we all appreciate the importance of having solid play out there.  When we were healthy, you saw the difference defensively.  Its a position that's hard to find in free agency... Its a hard position always to find," Payton said on WWL Radio Thursday night. 

Robinson, a supremely gifted, dreadlocked physical specimen, played four years, starting the last two, at Florida State.  He has an excellent 39" vertical leap and a playing speed far better than his pedestrian 4.51 forth yard dash.  He improved his 40 time to 4.38 at his pro day.  Robinson, a native of Coral Gables, FL, is an explosive athlete who hits hard. He is better in man coverage than zone and best at press coverage - which is good, because Saints DC Gregg Williams demands solid man coverage. 

Robinson' detriments are a curious lack of production, noted earlier, and Robinson is a physical player and an adequate tackler but is not a well-developed ball hawk.  Robinson's lack of discipline and production kept him out of the elite ranks of the cornerbacks graded in the draft.  He was the fifth cornerback of the board.  Robinson was suspended for four games, including the 2007 bowl game and the first three games of the 2008 season because of his involvement in the infamous Florida State academic cheating scandal.  He suffered a back injury in 2008 and an ankle injury in 2009 that cost him most of two games.  Robinson had an up and down performance in the Senior Bowl, showing solid tackling ability but getting burnt by Cincinnati WR Mardy Gilyard, dropping an interception and drawing an illegal contact penalty.

Robinson's biggest immediate impact will be on special teams.  He played receiver and then moved to cornerback in high school, and also ran track. 

Payton said that "Mickey had a few calls, two or three," when referring to trade offers received. 

The Saints had been hoping that quick pass rusher Jerry Hughes would fall to them, but the Colts stole him with the 31st pick.  Also on the board were big run stuffing defensive tackles Brian Price of UCLA and Lamarr Houston of Texas, defensive ends Everson Griffen of USC and Carlos Dunlap of Florida, and linebackers Sergio Kindle of Texas and Daryl Washington of TCU.

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