Adrien Robinson, the tight end from Cincinnati drafted in the fourth round by the New York Giants, admitted during rookie mini-camp last weekend that he is "very eager" to get some passes thrown in his direction.
Despite saying that he feels like he has always "naturally been good" at catching the ball, the 6-foot-4, 265-pound Robinson had only 29 receptions in four seasons with the Bearcats,
"We had a great running back in Isaiah Pead. My role was to be a blocker," he said.
Robinson said he was not frustrated by the lack of pass-catching opportunities at Cincinnati.
"You can't cry about not getting the ball, it's just part of being a team player, especially when we're winning. Even if we're losing you've got to be a team player. I can't call the plays. Coach calls the plays, you just go out there and run 'em. I never got frustrated."
There were not a lot of opportunities for Robinson to flash his pass-catching skills during last weekend's rookie mini-camp, either, especially with tryout quarterbacks who often could not put the ball in the same area code as their intended targets.
Robinson did, however, make one play that showcased the hands and athleticism that led the Giants to use the 127th overall selection of the 2012 NFL Draft on him. He reached to snag a short bullet pass thrown well over his head, getting some praise from coach Tom Coughlin for making a "tough grab."
Robinson did not see the play as anything out of the ordinary.
"It was just a high ball but I feel like I would be expected to make that play," Robinson said.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride liked what he saw from Robinson during the mini-camp.
"Obviously the more a guy has done something, he's been asked to be a focal point in the passing game, the further he's progressed. I'm sure he's starting a little further back, but he looks like a big guy that can run. He made a great catch on the last play. Of course he ran the wrong way. He was supposed to be going inside and stole the curl from the Z, but that's kind of what I think we're going to be battling for a while," Gilbride said. "The good thing is you just like to see a guy that has the physical potential to do some things. He looks like he has that. How quickly he can assimilate our offense, how quickly he can recognize what defenses are doing and make the appropriate and correct adjustments, that's a long way off."
Robinson hopes his athleticism helps make up for the lack collegiate opportunities when it comes to learning how to catch passes against NFL defenders.
"I've always kind of naturally been good at that (catching the ball). I played receiver in high school, I played receiver when I first got to Cincinnati. That's always been my background," Robinson said. "My last two years at Cincinnati I was an in-line blocker most of the time."
With Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum rehabbing from knee injuries suffered in the Super Bowl there is, of course, an opportunity for Robinson to find a role in the offense early on.
With Coughlin and Gilbride the Giants use of the tight end has always been somewhat more traditional than how many teams use tight ends now. Which means Robinson's size, experience and obvious willingness to block could get him on the field much quicker.
"I'm used to moving around, being in the backfield, blocking linebackers in space," Robinson said. "It's a huge opportunity," "I'm just happy to be here. Happy they picked me and gave me the opportunity."