By Alex Lewis @(alexlewis226)
About this time last year, I wrote an article about now-Washington Redskins corner back Jimmy Moreland.
Coming out of James Madison, Moreland was undersized and playing at a small school with little credible, quality opposition, but presented some of the most intriguing and impressive highlight reel I had seen in the entire process.
Despite being just 5”10, the JMU prospect boasted excellent instincts, an uncanny eye for the ball and really sticky coverage, which at least in my mind, had him being drafted well before the end of proceedings in Tennessee.
Eventually taken 227th overall, Moreland has since made himself a major part of the Redskins defence as the nickel corner, even with less than ideal play on the outside by the veterans, with Josh Norman being released after the seasons conclusion.
So here we are in 2020, and I’m seeing chatter begin to grow about another small school, undersized defensive back called Amik Robertson out of Louisiana Tech, so it would be rude not to have a look what all the fuss is about.
What’s to love?
Amik Robertson has a lot to love when you watch his tape from the last year.
Not only can he give you all the coverage ability that you get from some of the top prospects, but he also has some of the more elite instincts of any corner in the draft.
Whether that’s reading the ball in the air and deciding when to come out of coverage to go get it or when to come up and make tackles, Robertson has a confident and enjoyably aggressive play style.
In general, Robertson’s tackling is impressive, and you can find lots of clips from his tape where his reading of the play has led to big hits and crushing blows.
In the modern age where tackling on DB’s is often their weakest link, Robertson’s willingness to get players down by any means necessary is a welcome change.
His attributes, all of which lead me to believe he can become a starting nickel corner in the NFL, show a raw athleticism that should excite scouts and evaluators across the teams.
An injury to his groin means that Robertson will not participate in the combine drills in Indianapolis this week, but if his own predictions are to be believed, a 4.3 40 could have been on the cards.
What’s not to love?
Amik Robertson is not a perfect prospect, despite a whole host of upsides.
The size is certainly not prototype at just 5”9 and 182 pounds, but in his own words, his height isn’t changing, so probably best to try and look past it.
Robertson has good jumping and has addressed the need to put some weight on in the gym, so it should be possible to survive the NFL at his size, his quest likely aided by the increasing need for smaller nickel corners.
In full, his lack of size concerns me far more in the running game than the passing, he understandably struggled with 6”6 Collin Johnson against Texas this past season.
His instincts, as great as they are, also need some harnessing; the splash plays where he blows up a screen in the flat look great when they work but leave his team hurting when they don’t, so any defensive co-ordinator worth his salt will want to control Robertson’s overshoots sooner rather than later.
In reality there is small degree of rawness to Robertson’s game.
In forgoing his senior year as a Bulldog, Robertson will miss out on an opportunity to polish his skills but that shouldn’t be something that people look down on, and instead as a harness-able weapon that some late round picks won’t have to fall back on.
Robertson in review
I find it particularly fitting that Robertson’s twitter profile has a photo of Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu as its header.
The apparent need to inspire players around him through his own passion is visible even through the screen and his character helps to define his potential as a prospect.
I love his instincts, his passion and his desire to make every tackle and every play, and this will carry him through a lot as he adjusts to the size and speed of the pro-game.
Overall though, Robertson is an outstanding prospect with excellent speed and agility which gives him sticky coverage ability in short and intermediate routes.
His height will probably have him move inside to nickel corner at the pro-level and this should help him avoid some of the bigger receivers in an attempt to make him feel comfortable.
Expect a third or fourth round pick to be used on Robertson, but also expect him to make waves the second he gets on the practice field as a pro player.
I look forward to using him as a comparison this time next year.