Why the New York Giants took a big risk on Wan’Dale Robinson in the 2nd round

Wan'Dale Robinson, giants

When the New York Giants drafted Wan’Dale Robinson out of Kentucky, they knew they were getting an explosive playmaker with electrifying capabilities. Robinson led Kentucky with 1,334 receiving yards, more than double the second option on the team, Josh Ali.

Despite being 5’8″ and 179 pounds, Robinson plays with more strength than his frame indicates. He’s extremely quick with the football in his hands, reminiscent of Kadarius Toney. Clearly, the Giants are looking for players who can make things happen in the open field via missed tackles. Luckily for them, Robinson ranked 6th in the entire country, with 22 missed tackles forced in 2021.

After the Giants drafted him, general manager Joe Schoen justified a move that seemed premature by most analysts and fans. Nobody had Robinson on their board in the 2nd round, but Big Blue saw a playmaker that could change the game in the blink of an eye, which is always valuable.

“Good football player we’ve had our eye on, generator with the ball in his hands, very good run after the catch, very good route runner, can separate,” general manager Joe Schoen said.

When looking at Robinson’s skill set, he comes off as an elite route runner at the apex. He’s capable of changing direction on a dime and keeping defenders off-balance. In addition, he’s extremely lethal on jet-sweeps, screen passes and even ranked 6th in college football with 16 deep catches.

He fits exactly what the Giants are trying to do on offense, likely increasing pre-snap motion tremendously from 7.5% last year under Jason Garrett’s leadership.

“And for what we are going to do offensively, we thought he would be a very good fit for us.”

Looking at some of his routes, you can see that Wan’Dale likes to run delayed releases in a stacked formation. He did this routinely against Georgia last season. Georgia is playing Cover-2 man with two deep safeties but manning up across the line of scrimmage.

Robinson delays his route to see which corner will be guarding him, putting up a lethal jab-step that moved the corner enough to expose his inside. That slight advantage allowed Robinson to win inside, and if not for a slip after the catch, he would’ve gone to the house.

In the next clip, Robinson gives me flashes of Kadarius Toney, who’s capable of disappearing when a defender is about to make a play. While the play here doesn’t go for many yards, his jab-step to the left completely turns around the defender, who otherwise is taken out of the play instantaneously.

If the Giants really want to modernize their offense, which seems obvious given their personal decisions, Robinson fits the bill perfectly. Throughout every game, Kentucky utilizes him often in pre-stop motion, getting him the ball whenever possible. If teams play off-ball coverage, Kentucky would swing the ball out on screen passes and let him work in open space.

Featuring Robinson and Toney on the field at the same time will be extremely lethal if schemed correctly. With Kenny Golladay demanding attention from opposing teams’ top corners, Toney and Robinson can take advantage of lesser matchups. They are extremely hard to stop in man coverage, especially in the earlier portions of the field, but they are also more than capable of getting downfield for big plays.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Robinson and Toney lining up in bunch-formations, confusing defenses on screen plays, but also more complex route concepts. Ultimately, Robinson will offer Daniel Jones an excellent security blanket underneath, boosting his numbers without having to do much. These players make quarterbacks look better since you can give them the ball and let them do all the work.

Another huge benefit is that Robinson has a positive health history. If Toney suffers any injuries, they won’t skip a beat on offense.