The New York Giants have waited ... and waited ... and then waited some more for 2012 fourth-round pick Adrien Robinson to become a productive NFL player. Entering his fourth season, could the 25-year-old Robinson be about to make the Giants' patience pay dividends?
Let's look more closely at Robinson as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp in less than three weeks.
2014 Season in Review
For the first time in his three seasons with the Giants, Robinson showed hints of becoming a productive player. He caught five passes -- the only catches of his NFL career to date. He played 77 offensive snaps after getting a total of only two in his first two seasons. Robinson earned a +2.1 Pro Football Focus grade, including +1.2 as a run blocker.
2015 Season Outlook
Robinson, in the final year of his rookie contract, will almost certainly be part of the mix at tight end for the Giants. The question is, will he once again be the No. 3 tight end or can he push past veteran Daniel Fells to be the No. 2 tight end behind Larry Donnell? If he can, he might push Fells right off the roster as the Giants have young tight ends Jerome Cunningham, Matt Lacosse and Will Tye battling for a roster spot.
During mandatory minicamp, Robinson said he is "much better" as a player than he was when he entered the league.
"I understand the game so much more, I'm seeing the game a lot better as far as simple things like scoop blocks and working with the tackle and seeing the safeties," Robinson said. "All that stuff that kinda slowed me down is just second nature now. I don't even think about it so I can play faster.
"The more you do it the faster it'll come. I wasn't always given a lot of reps. I'm a visual learner. I need to go out there and mess it up once and then I'll be good."
With starting tight end Larry Donnell sidelined during the spring by Achilles tendinitis, Robinson took many of the first-team reps. He was also healthy last season and able to practice from the beginning of the season to the end, right from OTAs to the final game. That was the first time in his three NFL seasons he had been able to do that. In his rookie year he missed much of the spring because NFL rules prohibited him from practicing until his class graduated. In his second year, he suffered a preseason knee injury that cost him half the season.
"That's [practicing every day] a huge difference because I don't miss anything. Even OTAs, we install the offense from Day 1. It refreshes your mind on everything," Robinson said. "I feel really comfortable right now. I think this is the best spring that I've had since I've been here."
Tight ends coach Kevin Gilbride Jr. was effusive in his praise of Robinson's work in the spring.
"Adrien's made tremendous progress this spring. He's the one who's made the most progress as far as his understanding and grasping of how to get his job done. He could always tell you what his assignment was, but he didn't necessarily know how to go about doing it ... he's made a lot of progress, and it's shown up more this spring than it ever has before," Gilbride said.
"I'm not just talking about making catches. He could always make catches or get open on a particular route. I'm talking about how to execute when he's working with the tackle on the front side of a zone scheme and when to come off or the angle to take and where he should place his hands and how he should pressure his hands and things like that. He's made the most progress in that area. It's good to see."
It will be especially good to see if Robinson can finally turn all of that increased knowledge and comfort into a full season of on-field production. The opportunity, once again, is there for him to take.