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Can Aaron Robinson stay healthy, earn bigger role for New York Giants?

Coming off injury, Robinson suddenly has a lot more players to compete with for playing time

New York Giants v Tennessee Titans
Aaron Robinson
Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

In the NFL, the window of opportunity for a third-round pick can be short. After an injury-plagued first two seasons with the New York Giants, cornerback Aaron Robinson is seeking to find more playing time and establish himself as a quality option. Can Robinson break out of the pack and earn a larger role?

By the numbers

Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 193
Age: 25
Position: Cornerback
Experience: 2
Contract: Third year of four-year, $5,143,292 million deal | Guaranteed: $1,100,576 | 2023 cap hit: $1,402,716

Career to date

Robinson played his college ball at the University of Central Florida from 2018-20 after playing 13 games for Alabama in his 2016 true freshman year and sitting out 2017. His best season with Central Florida came in 2019 when he posted 54 total tackles, 5.5 for loss, 10 passes defensed, three interceptions, and a forced fumble. He had an 85.1 Pro Football Focus grade that year, including 86.6 in coverage.

Overall in three seasons at UCF, Robinson racked up 104 total tackles (77 solo), 6.5 for loss, 17 passes defensed, those three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. He was named second-team All-AAC as a redshirt junior and senior.

Robinson declared for the 2021 NFL Draft and was selected by the Giants at No. 71 overall. However, he has played in just 11 games over his first two seasons due to various injuries. He began his rookie year on the PUP list after missing training camp due to core muscle surgery.

Robinson saw his first action in Week 8 of 2021 and played in nine games overall with two starts. He recorded 26 tackles (16 solo), three passes defensed, and one quarterback hit. He saw some time at both wide and slot corner. He earned a 62.2 PFF grade, including 58.4 in coverage and 75.3 in run defense. He allowed 16 of 28 receptions (57.1%) for 153 yards and a touchdown for an 84.4 targeted quarterback rating.

In 2022, Robinson started in Week 1 at outside corner before missing the next two games due to an appendectomy. He returned in Week 4 but tore his ACL and MCL, ending his season.

2023 outlook

The Giants had signaled their intention to move Robinson to outside corner in 2022. Indeed, in the opener, he played 47 of his 62 defensive snaps there (76%). However, with the selection of Deonte Banks, it’s possible that Robinson moves back inside, where he played extensively during his final two years in college. That depends on whether Darnay Holmes, the incumbent starter at slot cornerback, actually makes the roster. It also remains to be seen whether the Giants choose to move Cor’Dale Flott inside, as Flott played more of a slot role in college, too.

Robinson will first need to get healthy. Dan Duggan of The Athletic previously reported that Robinson may begin training camp on the PUP list. Whether that jeopardizes his availability for Week 1 is not yet clear. Still, with Holmes, Flott, and Nick McCloud all working to earn playing time at cornerback, Robinson’s lack of availability could be a significant loss for him.

Despite his early injuries, Robinson still has a chance to carve out a decent role for himself on the roster. Where and when will be the question.