Giants’ Brian Daboll breaks down how they will use rookie WR Wan’Dale Robinson

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There were mixed reactions when the New York Giants drafted Kentucky stand-out Wan’Dale Robinson in the 2nd round of the 2022 NFL draft. At face value, Robinson was a tiny offensive playmaker with the shortest arm length in the entire draft class and some of the smallest hands to boot.

Robinson ranked in the 0th percentile in arm length and 31st percentile with 9-inch hands. However, he stood out with his 40-yard dash time, 20-yard shuttle, and impressive 19 reps on the bench press.

Featuring elite elusiveness and open-field capabilities, the Giants are excited to incorporate him into their offensive scheme. He wins in man coverage, breaking loose from defensive backs with a shifty style. However, he can make an impact in both the deep passing game and screen game.

For Kentucky last season, he ranked 6th with 16 deep catches and 3rd with 35 screen catches. In addition, he added 22 missed tackles forced, which ranked 6th in all of college football last year among receivers.

Head coach Brian Daboll gave some insight into how the Giants plan to use Wan’Dale:

“We have a very clear vision for the player and look forward to utilizing him,” coach Brian Daboll said after the draft.

“I think he can play inside, and I think he’s strong enough and fast enough, even though he’s a smaller, shorter guy, that he can contribute outside, too. Again, what we’re trying to do is put as many generating pieces out there to create pace and stretch the field, whether it be vertical or horizontally, and this is another good guy that has ability to run after the catch, which is an important aspect of it.” – Head Coach Brian Daboll on Wan’Dale Robinson via Giants.com

Robinson will have to diversify his route running to help him expose the deeper concepts downfield. With faster and athletic safeties at the next level, he will need to find an extra gear. His strength at the point of attack will need to stand out. Given he’s only 5’8″, it’s going to be difficult for him to win 50/50 balls.

The best way the Giants can utilize him is on short route concepts, getting him into open space and letting him work from there. Quarterback Daniel Jones threw just 49 passes behind the line of scrimmage last season compared to over 150 from Patrick Mahomes. That comparison is important to mention because the Giants hired Kansas City Chiefs offensive assistant Mike Kafka to serve as their new coordinator.

Kafka and Daboll will be looking to execute a West Coast/spread-offense blend. This will get their playmakers into open space with quicker concepts but spread the football out to all portions of the field. Last season, Jason Garrett had a tendency to shorten the field and roll Jones out to his right, taking massive portions of his vision away.

Good offensive coordinators can manipulate production with short passes but get blockers out in front. That is how the Kansas City Chiefs managed to execute such a potent offense. They are lethal around the line of scrimmage, which forces opposing defenses to creep up, which opens up deeper concepts downfield.

Robinson will play an integral role in helping to diversify the offense.

New York Giants OTAs Day 7: Main takeaways

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The New York Giants completed their seventh OTA of the summer today. There were a few standout plays and players in today’s practice. In particular, some of the young bucks and rookies on offense continued to stand out and build on a strong summer of OTAs.

Wan’Dale Robinson continues to shine

Second-round rookie draft pick Wan’Dale Robinson is continuing to turn heads at practice. He and Daniel Jones connected on a highlight play once again as Robinson scored a touchdown in the red zone. He then doubled down, scoring a second touchdown on a pass from Tyrod Taylor later in practice in a fourth-down situation.

“We have a very clear vision for the player and look forward to utilizing him,” coach Brian Daboll said after the draft.

Daboll added, “I think he can play inside, and I think he’s strong enough and fast enough, even though he’s a smaller, shorter guy, that he can contribute outside, too. Again, what we’re trying to do is put as many generating pieces out there to create pace and stretch the field, whether it be vertical or horizontally, and this is another good guy that has ability to run after the catch, which is an important aspect of it.” – Head Coach Brian Daboll on Wan’Dale Robinson via Giants.com

Depth developing in the secondary

The Giants recently signed some veteran defenders to provide depth to Wink Martindale’s new defense. Cornerback Maurice Canady was signed recently. Canady is a player who has connections to Martindale as a former 2016 sixth-round draft choice by Baltimore. Canady ended practice with an interception during a two-point conversion situation.

Julian Love ascending into the starting role

Fourth-year defensive back Julian Love is finally in-line for a starting position. The 2019 fourth-round pick has moved all over the Giants’ secondary the past three seasons. He has started games as free safety, strong safety, outside cornerback, and slot cornerback. Yet, Love has never had a full-time gig as a starter and has been used more as a utility, fill-in player. His versatility is crucial and now after the departures of former starting safeties Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers, Julian Love could be ascending to a starting safety position. Love had great coverage in the red zone and forced an incompletion during today’s practice.

“Dependable, smart, plays tough on tape,” Daboll said of Love last week. “I think he’s done a good job in his group. Been a good leader for us, good communication with X (Xavier McKinney) out there. It is really a pleasure to be around. Seems like we can use him in a lot of different roles and he’s, I’d say, ready for that challenge in terms of understanding the playbook and being able to perform it out there on the field up to this point.” – Brian Daboll on Julian Love via Giants.com

Receivers making plays

Aside from Wan’dale Robinson, some other offensive playmakers got stood out in today’s practice. Wide receiver Austin Proehl and tight end Chris Myarick caught short touchdowns, both from Davis Webb. Additionally, Darius Slayton made a spectacle of a catch along the sideline. Giants.com described the acrobatic catch:

“Wide receiver Darius Slayton had the highlight of the day, corralling a pass that was tipped near the sideline. Slayton showed good concentration staying with the redirected pass and managed to secure it in stride.” – Giants.com

Despite rumors that the Giants could be shopping Slayton earlier this offseason, he has remained with the team and has “done a good job” during OTAs according to head coach Brian Daboll:

“He’s been dependable,” Daboll said of Slayton earlier in OTAs. “He’s known what to do. He doesn’t talk a whole lot. Pretty quiet guy but a pro. I’ve got a lot of respect for him, how he handles his business both on and off the field. He’s done a good job.” – Brian Daboll on Darius Slayton via Giants.com

New York Giants OTAs: Main Takeaways | Thibodeaux out with injury, Wan’Dale shines

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The New York Giants hosted day six of OTA’s on Thursday, which included the first opportunity to hear defensive coordinator Wink Martindale speak to the media. The team has three voluntary practices left until their mandatory camp. After those six practices, they are off until late July, when training camp begins, so there’s a ton of information packed into these sessions.

Main takeaways from OTA’s for the New York Giants:

1.) Wan’Dale Robinson with a huge catch

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones and rookie receiver Wan’Dale Robinson have already begun developing strong chemistry. Jones has looked Robinson’s way on multiple occasions to find a security blanket but also target him on more aggressive throws downfield.

Wan’Dale ranked 6th in all of college football last year with 16 deep catches and 12th with 553 deep yards. Despite his small frame at 5’8″, he is a feisty receiver with great hands.

On Thursday, Jones launched a pass downfield with Aaron Robinson in coverage, the Giants expected CB2. Wan’Dale used his body to frame out Robinson, hauling in a great reception, which went viral on social media.

There isn’t supposed to be this much contact in OTA’s, so Robinson likely stumbled trying to make a play or simply got caught up in the process. Nonetheless, Robinson’s coverage was solid, but Wan’Dale’s catch was simply better.

2.) Kayvon Thibodeaux out with injury

Fifth overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux has sat out the past two days with a red jersey on. He was rolled up on after a play during last week’s practice. Head coach Brian Daboll indicated it wasn’t anything too serious, but they were taking necessary precautions to make sure he’s 100% healthy for July.

Thibodeaux has drawn glowing reviews since joining the Giants just a few weeks ago.

“If Wink were to create an outside linebacker in a lab, it would be Kayvon Thibodeaux,’’ Giants outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins said Thursday, per the NY Post. “He has all the skill sets you look for. He can be a dominant edge-setter, an explosive, violent, relentless pass rusher and everything else you see that is required of the package. All those things combined, it’s such a good fit for us and he has just taken it and run with it.”

Thibodeaux was Wink and Wilkins’ top option on the draft board, so the Giants managed to walk away with arguably the best defender in the class.

“He was Drew’s No. 1 guy and he was my No. 1 guy coming out of the process,’’ Martindale said. “I’ve loved him since Day 1.’’

3.) Defensive scheme shift

One thing that Wink Martindale brings to the Giants is aggressive football. The former Baltimore Ravens DC loves to blitz and play man coverage, which forces opposing quarterbacks to get rid of the ball faster. That strategy implies that the coverage doesn’t have to hold up as long. That implies the secondary doesn’t have to take a bend-don’t-break approach, which is utilized when the pass-rush is weak.

“The other side of that is, the ball has got to come out quicker now, so hopefully we don’t have to cover quite as long,” DB coach Jerome Henderson said. “And if we can be disruptive early, hopefully we can help the defense play at a very high level.”

Not having to cover as long can hide deficiencies in the secondary, especially with inexperienced players like Aaron Robinson. There’s a lot of youth spread around the defensive backfield, so this blitz-heavy approach should allow them to hide weaknesses with an above-average pass rush. That is why acquiring Thibodaux in the draft was such a big deal.

New York Giants Day 2 OTAs: Main Takeaways

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The New York Giants hosted their second day of OTA’s on Tuesday, featuring rookies and veterans alike. Thus far, second-round receiver Wan’Dale Robinson and a few undrafted free agents have stood out the most.

Via the Giants website:

*Wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson has displayed a quick twitch during OTAs. The rookie is already a frequent target of Daniel Jones. The two connected on several passes during 11-on-11 drills, including a sideline grab for a sizeable gain. Robinson is extremely quick in getting to the outside with his cuts and will be a tough matchup for defenders.

It is a great sign that Robinson and quarterback Daniel Jones have already begun developing chemistry this off-season. Robinson offers Jones a security blanket in the short portions of the field, especially given his success in the screen game.

With Kentucky last season, Robinson ranked 3rd in screen catches with 35 and 4th in screen yards with 268. He also caught 16 deep catches, ranking 6th in the league. With that array of qualities, Jones can target him in various portions of the field, which is likely how Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka visualize him being used.

The Giants are seeing what Kayvon Thibodeaux is capable of:

Fellow draft pick Kayvon Thibodeau also stepped up big in a scrimmage scenario, tipping a pass that landed in the hands of Xavier McKinney, who took it the other way. Seeing the Giants’ top draft picks making plays during OTAs is definitely a good sign, but it means nothing until they translate to an actual game.

*Speaking of pass breakups, Kayvon Thibodeaux made a nice play to tip a pass at the line of scrimmage, and the ball landed in the hands of Xavier McKinney, who returned it the other way.

So far, it seems as if the Giants have gotten off to a good start, especially given their successful health reports.

Why Giants’ 2nd round WR Wan’Dale Robinson is going to be a swiss-army knife on offense

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When the New York Giants drafted Wan’Dale Robinson out of Kentucky with their second-round pick, many questioned the decision from general manager Joe Schoen. However, the Giants were looking for a versatile offensive weapon that could serve multiple roles and feature in a variety of alignments as they put together a new scheme.

The Giants hired former Buffalo Bills OC Brian Daboll and Kansas City Chiefs offensive quality control manager Mike Kafka to serve as the team’s new head coach and offensive coordinator, respectively.

Both coaches are known for their offensive pedigree, helping build two of the league’s most potent offenses as part of their resume. Management had plenty to do renovating the roster and adding pieces to both sides of the football that would fit specific schemes and styles.

Robinson is a product of scheme-related drafting, especially since Kafka is coming from an offense that features quick and agile receivers that can play multiple roles.

“Whatever they want me to do, whether that be run the ball, catch the ball, catch a bunch of screens, sweeps, whatever they ask me to do, I’ll be able to do it. That’s just what I want to do,” Robinson said at rookie minicamp, per John Fennelly of Giants Wire.

Robinson tallied 1,342 yards last season for Kentucky, with 12.9 yards per reception and seven total touchdowns. All of his best games came in 2021, and despite being a bit undersized at 5’8″, he has elite change of direction capabilities and proven health history.

Robinson isn’t the biggest or fastest receiver in the draft class, but he hosts several impressive numbers, including his 40-yard dash, at 4.44, 20-yard shuttle at 4.13, and 19 benchpress reps. Putting up 19 reps of 225-pounds under 180 pounds is extremely impressive and showcases Robinson’s underrated strength as a ball carrier. He ranks in the 0 percentile in arm length, meaning his catch-radius is tiny, but once he gets the football in his hands, he’s electric.

The Giants can utilize Robinson out of the slot or on the outside, enjoying 487 snaps in the slot and 239 outside last season. However, Robinson is also lethal on jet sweeps, and screen passes, providing him so much value for an offense that will likely focus on creativity and unpredictability.

With multiple home-run hitters like Robinson, Kadarius Toney, and Saquon Barkley, the Giants will feed them snaps until one of them breaks off a big chunk of yards.

How will the New York Giants utilize Wan’Dale Robinson on offense?

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The New York Giants met with Kentucky wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson on three separate occasions before taking him in the 2nd round of the 2022 NFL draft. While most analysts had Robinson projected as a 4th-round pick, new general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll believed taking him in the 2nd was justifiable.

If you look at the type of players that new offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and Daboll have used in the past with their respective teams, Robinson fits the mold perfectly. Having a shifty, quick receiver that has similarities to Tyreek Hill and Cole Beasley makes a lot of sense heading into the 2022 season. Robinson is far from a Hill or Beasley replica, but he has the opportunity to create an identity of his own after dominating at Kentucky in the SEC last season.

Over 13 games, Robinson tallied 104 receptions for 1,334 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He also contributed 111 rushing yards to boot.

For a smaller guy at 5’8″ and 185 pounds, Robinson has elite change of direction capabilities and is an explosive playmaker with the ball in his hands.

“Versatile, got quickness, explosiveness–he’s tough, even for a smaller guy. Been a very productive player really going back to high school when he played there in Kentucky,” said head coach Brian Daboll.

The Giants now have three players, including Robinson, Kadarius Toney, and Saquon Barkley who can take the football to the house at any given moment. Ultimately, if you give each of those three players enough reps, one of them will create electrifying production.

In addition, given slot receiver Sterling Shepard is expected to miss the beginning of the season and Toney has faced injury problems early in his career, having a player like Robinson who can supplement potential losses is extremely valuable.

Daboll has already indicated how excited they are to get their hands on Robinson and begin to develop a scheme that extrapolates on his skill set.

“A guy we’re anxious to get our hands-on and work with and implement into our scheme.”

Wan’Dale always believed he was capable of being drafted in the 2nd round but clearly didn’t expect to be taken so early.

“I always felt like I was talented enough to be picked this early,” Robinson said. “I just felt like somebody just had to believe in me and not believe in the hype thing and just believe in the football player.”

Many have criticized the selection, but it is entirely possible the Giants had inside knowledge that either the Buffalo Bills or Kansas City Chiefs were targeting him as a potential replacement or addition to their already potent offenses.

Given Buffalo stole Georgia running back James Cook off the board, adding an electrifying playmaker seemed to be a priority for them. The Giants likely didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity, trading back a number of times to add more selections in the mid-rounds, while also guaranteeing they would land a perfect scheme fit on offense.

The Giants desperately needed to increase their creativity before the snap, especially after recording a 7.5% pre-snap motion rate in 2021. Some of the best teams in the NFL utilize pre-snap motion far more often, including the San Francisco 49ers at 83.7%, Baltimore Ravens at 54.1%, and Los Angeles Rams at 49.1%.

The Giants barely got their players moving along the line of scrimmage, which made their offensive schematics more predictable, resulting in one of the worst units in football. Robinson will help tremendously in forcing cornerbacks to move and shifting the defensive alignment to keep them off balance. Pre-snap motion is also a great way to determine if a team is playing man or zone coverage, which gives the quarterback more knowledge prior to the snap.

In addition to the change in offensive schematics, Robinson also offers Jones easy production in the short portion of the field. The Kentucky standout receiver is a dominant screen catcher and can make something out of nothing. He is a quarterback’s best friend, creating yardage and efficiency while taking the risk factor away from the quarterback throwing downfield.

However, that is not to say that Robinson won’t also be targeted in the intermediate and deeper portions of the field, since he has the speed and athleticism to make plays all over. Daboll already indicated that Robinson can play inside and outside, despite being a smaller and shorter receiver.

In conclusion, many have pointed out that the draft board hosted more established players when the Giants selected Robinson, but he’s clearly a productive stud and will bring an electric element to the Giants’ offense. Pairing him with Toney will keep defenses honest and force them to allocate more attention, which should open up more opportunities for everyone.

New York Giants make surprise pick in 2nd round, landing Kentucky WR Wan’Dale Robinson at 43rd overall

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Despite having Nakobe Dean and Skyy Moore on the board, the New York Giants made a surprise pick after trading back seven spots in the 2022 NFL Draft. Originally sitting at No. 36, general manager Joe Schoen moved back to the 43rd overall selection, where he selected Kentucky wide receiver, Wan’Dale Robinson.

Robinson is a tiny receiver at 5’8″ and 179 pounds, but he’s extremely versatile and shifty with the way he plays. In fact, many had Robinson deep at the bottom of their draft boards, but the Giants clearly saw something special in the Kentucky stand-out, who contributed 1,334 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

Robinson has elite agility, and despite being undersized, he’s built well with a muscular frame. He has a tiny catch radius which will limit his impact, but he’s easily utilized as a gadget receiver who can take a screen pass to the house.

According to Lance Zierlien of NFL.com, Robinson is extremely versatile in his alignments:

Robinson will be tabbed as a slot receiver but that is underselling his potential. He’s sudden and slick with an ability to make plays from a variety of alignments. He has gadget potential and can function as a dump-and-run target, acting as an extension of the running game. A lack of length and play strength could be a concern until he tightens up the route-running to prevent contested catches. He’s much lighter than Deebo Samuel, but the competitiveness, acceleration and run-after-catch talent could have teams eyeing a somewhat similar usage for Robinson in the future.
Robinson forced 22 missed tackles last year, ranking 6th among receivers. He also caught 35 screen passes which ranked 3rd, and 268 screen yards which ranked 4th. Clearly, the Giants will you realize him in a specific way, and while some might see the similarities between him and Kadarius Toney, Schoen indicated they are not shopping the former first-round pass catcher.
This is undoubtedly an interesting decision from the Giants, but he clearly serves a big purpose on the offensive side under the leadership of Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka.