Although not as dire of an immediate need for the upcoming season, the cornerback positional group will likely require a major facelift over the next few years....that is, if Mark Dominik doesn't pay it some significant attention in the next draft or two. As one of the last superheroes from the glory days almost certainly winds down his career, someone will eventually have to step into those enormous shoes that Ronde's left behind to fill. Hopefully someone who can play the position with the same fire, passion, and heart. Hopefully someone with the same superior ball-hawking instincts. Hopefully someone with the same explosive first step that caused opposing QBs to give a quick glance his way at the snap.
Ok, truth be told......I'm not sure anyone can fill those shoes, but there's one guy out there with a similar physical skill set who could make a name for himself as a good, productive pro.....FSU CB Patrick Robinson.
Check out some video highlights of Robinson here.
Check out Mocking the Draft's report on Robinson here.
Hit the jump for analysis....
Evaluation: Robinson, or "P-Rob", played a large amount of man coverage under Mickey Andrews at Florida State, but he's got the physical skill set to play man and zone schemes. He doesn't boast above-average size for an NFL CB, but he's not small either at 5-11, 195-ish lbs. P-Rob has the speed scouts are looking for in a cover corner, with good recovery speed. His straight-line speed was confirmed to scouts and personnel after he ran a 4.38 at the Seminoles' Pro Day.
He's got good acceleration and an explosive first step, which helps in a zone scheme where the defensive back has to constantly stop and start as he lets a receiver pass and chases after another. Based on the limited amount of zone coverage the Seminoles went with, it's tough to tell if he has the patience, instincts, and play recognition to succeed in a zone-based scheme...at least early on. His extreme aggressiveness on the video, with his flying by the Hurricane defenders and failure to break down and wrap up, leads me to believe he could be a bit impulsive, which you don't want to see with a zone cornerback. I think it's easier to take an athletic player and make him into a zone corner than going vice versa, so if he needs coaching, I don't think it'd be an issue converting him into the Tampa 2 scheme. It looks like he needs to work on his tackling form, as leaves seems to leave his feet too much. He appears to try and grab onto and pull the player down rather than square his shoulders, wrap up, and drive through the ballcarrier.
In the Buccaneer secondary, Robinson could be an intriguing player. Although the Bucs don't blitz as much as most teams, they could use Robinson's lethal speed in corner blitzes. Against younger QBs, this could (1) hurry the QB's decision and force a rushed throw and (2) fool the QB by sliding the nickel corner over from the slot to cover the zone vacated by P-Rob and either sliding over the OLB to that side or dropping the DE into coverage to disrupt the slant and the short pass/safety valve. Basically, box in the QB and let P-Rob feast. Nom nom nom.
What do you all think about P-Rob? Would you jump at the chance to get him with the 35th pick? 42nd pick?