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2021 NFL Draft prospect profile: Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF

Could Aaron Robinson be a sleeper pick for the Giants?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 01 Temple at UCF

University of Central Florida cornerback Aaron Robinson has had a winding journey to the NFL.

A Florida prep school star, Robinson had his pick of offers from major schools, ultimately choosing to play for Alabama and Nick Saban. Robinson was a highly touted recruit and even earned playing time on defense in five games as a true freshman — A distinct rarity for Alabama.

But then Robinson suddenly transferred from Alabama to UCF following the 2016 season and wasn’t eligible to play again until the 2018 season. He lost a significant chunk of that season to injury when he suffered a severe concussion on the opening kickoff of the season opener. Robinson didn’t see consistent playing time until the 2019 season, when he proved to be a versatile and reliable cover corner.

The New York Giants can always stand to improve their defensive secondary, and Robinson’s versatility and potential upside make him an intriguing prospect for Patrick Graham’s defense.

Prospect: Aaron Robinson

Games Watched: vs. Houston (2019), vs. Memphis (2020), vs. Cincinnati (2020)
Red Flags: Concussion (2018)

Career Stats

(Note: Only stats from 2019 and 2020 season)

Games Played: 21
Tackles: 90
Tackles For a loss: 5.5
Forced Fumbles: 2
Interceptions: 1

2020 Stats

Games Played: 9
Tackles: 41
Tackles For a loss: 1
Forced Fumbles: 1
Interceptions: 0

Quick Summary

Best: Competitive toughness, athleticism, versatility
Worst: Long speed, Tackling consistency
Projection: A starting slot corner with scheme diversity and some positional versatility.

Game Tape

Full Report

Central Florida cornerback Aaron Robinson is a physical, aggressive, versatile, and athletic corner prospect with the ability to play multiple roles at the NFL level.

Robinson weighs in at 5-foot-11 ½ inches, 194 pounds, but appears bigger than that on the field. He primarily lines up at slot corner for the Knights, but is capable of playing outside and even lined up as a pseudo-linebacker in some dime packages. Robinson is also able to play in both man and zone coverage schemes.

Robinson is a balanced, patient cornerback in man coverage, showing a smooth, compact backpedal. He doesn’t rush to open his hips and begin his transition, but shows good mobility and fluid movement when he does transition from his backpedal to running with receivers. He has enough speed to run with most receivers down the field and has the ability to stay in phase throughout the route.

In zone, Robinson wastes little time in his drops and getting appropriate depth. He has good discipline in picking up and passing off receivers as they enter and exit his coverage zone. Likewise, Robinson has solid awareness in coverage and shows some ability to read quarterbacks’ eyes.

Robinson has a good closing burst in both man and zone coverage and is very disruptive at the catch point. He does a good job of playing receivers’ hands with good timing to knock the ball away and prevent the reception.

He is an improving run defender, with good physicality and competitive toughness close to the line of scrimmage. Robinson is a willing run defender who is unafraid of contact, triggering quickly to come up and fill his gap or set a firm edge. He was a poor tackler as a red-shirt junior but improved significantly in his final year at UCF.

Likewise, while Robinson can be disruptive in defending passes, he is not a natural ballhawk. He had his hands on several passes in the tape viewed and failed to come down with the interception. His physicality can also be a bit of an issue here as well, as he can be prone to being “grabby” which could result in pass interference calls at the NFL level.

And while Robinson is disruptive at the catch point, he is not a natural ballhawk. He got his hands on several passes in the tape viewed but failed to come down with the interception. Robinson’s pass deflections might become opportunities for teammates, but he shouldn’t be relied upon to generate turnovers.

Overall Grade: 7.5 - This prospect has the physical and mental traits to be a solid, reliable starting corner at the NFL level with some scheme and position versatility.

Projection

UCF cornerback Aaron Robinson projects as a starting slot corner at the NFL level with the ability to play outside cornerback if necessary. He has the ability to play confidently in man or zone coverage, though he probably shouldn’t be matched up against more athletic receivers in man coverage that often.

Robinson could also have upside as a safety, but he would need to show continued improvement in his tackling technique and consistency.

Robinson’s lack of ball production might get him overlooked by some, but he should be a reliable starter with the ability to deny plays if not turn the ball over outright. He saw his production take a slight step backward in his senior year, but that had more to do with opposing quarterbacks avoiding him than any regression on Robinson’s part.

In fact, he improved markedly as a tackler from his junior to senior year. Robinson took much better angles and showed better tackling form in his final year, to the point where he could be considered a reliable run defending corner. His inconsistency as a run defender is somewhat understandable considering his background and the significant amount of time he had to wait (due to NCAA transfer rules and his 2018 injury) before he saw significant playing time. Teams will want to continue to work with Robinson on smoothing out the wrinkles in his game as prior bad habits can crop up at times.