Admittedly, he’s not the size you want in a corner at 5’8″ and change. And his college tape comes against lower-level competition. Oh, and a groin injury kept him from competing at the NFL Combine.
But then, when it comes to Amik Robertson, you turn on the tape and I honestly wonder how you let any of that impact the way you look at this guy.
I mean, watch this:
I’m not even an NFL GM, and I regret not drafting Amik Robertson over the weekend
— Thor Nystrom (@thorku) April 29, 2020
Sure, the ball skills jump off the tape — and those shouldn’t be discounted considering the Las Vegas Raiders haven’t had a defensive back that could really take the ball away in years — but did you see the wood that this guy lays?
I mean, it has become a theme in all of these deep dives, but doesn’t the tape just scream Jon Gruden to you? He may be small, but he’s not afraid of competition or contact, making him an absolute theft in the fourth round.
Here he is against 6’6″, 245-pound receiver Malcolm Epps from Texas:
The two new Raiders cornerbacks, Damon Arnette and Amik Robertson, are both absolute dogs — both players are really aggressive cornerbacks. pic.twitter.com/nuBCNrBhO2
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) April 25, 2020
“That dude is TOUGH,” Brett Kollman of “The Film Room” said. “Someone as tough as him could be an excellent asset inside since nickel corners are often relied upon to be primary force players against the run. Robertson could sneakily improve this edge run defense by a lot.”
What’s funny about Robertson is that some places actually had him rated higher than the Raiders’ first round pick at corner, Damon Arnette. One of those guys was Thor Nystrom from Rotoworld.
“I had him at 70th overall and the Raiders got him at (No.) 139,” he said. “If his body holds up it was highway robbery because he is one of the class’s best pure slot guys. What can he not do? Starting slot cornerback is now a starting position in the NFL and you have to treat it that way.”
Part of the reason to love Robertson — and you see it in the first clip above — is his attitude.
“He plays with a ‘we are Sparta’ attitude — banging his sword against the shield,” Nystrom said. “He plays bigger than his size and is totally willing to throw his body around. He just tosses himself like a projectile on run defense.”
One thing Nystrom said that really grabbed my attention was a comp that he through out — albeit with an asterisk.
“This is a kid who grew up in Louisiana and idolized Tyrann Mathieu, and while (Robertson) will be a slot corner, when he plays run defense and blitzes, that’s who he evokes. He isn’t as big, but he acts like he is.”
Of all the quotes I’ve read about Robertson, I think it’s this last one that sums it up best: “He isn’t as big, but he acts like he is.”
One thing that struck me as I dove into Robertson was how similar he seemed to another prospect in this draft class: Antoine Winfield Jr. Winfield played at a bigger program (Minnesota) and is listed primarily as a safety, but these guys are more similar than they are different.
Both are undersized (Winfield is an inch taller and 16 pounds heavier), both had huge production in college (Winfield: 88 tackles, 7 interceptions, 3 sacks; Robertson: 60 tackles, 5 interceptions, 14 pass breakups, 8 tackles for a loss) and both are primarily described as “tough”.
The difference? Winfield was taken at pick No. 45 and Robertson was grabbed at No. 139.
Like on offense, Robertson is part of a core of young defensive players that the Raiders are building to compete with the best offense in the league. Along with last year’s picks of Maxx Crosby, Jonathan Abram, Clelin Ferrell and Trayvon Mullen, the Raiders added both Robertson and Damon Arnette to the defensive backfield. Throw in free agents Cory Littleton (26 years old) and Nick Kwiatkoski (26 years old) and you’ve got the makings of a defense that is on the up-and-up.
If you enjoyed this deep dive, feel free to take a look at some of our others:
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