The New Orleans Saints owned the league's 5th ranked pass defense in 2020. Much of the reason for the lofty ranking was an improved secondary. The Saints led the NFL with 18 interceptions and allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete less than 60% of their attempts.
Cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins formed one of the league's best tandems. They routinely shut down the best wideouts in the NFL, allowing the team to be more aggressive with their coverage packages. Lattimore and Jenkins combined for 5 interceptions, 23 passes broken up, and just 55.7% completion percentage when targeted.
Jenkins was released this offseason in a salary cap move. Lattimore, who's contract is up after this year, could be facing a league suspension for an offseason arrest involving a stolen handgun.
The Saints still have Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, who provides exceptional slot coverage, along with backup veterans Patrick Robinson and P.J. Williams. However, cornerback appears to be a big need as the team heads toward the draft.
This year's draft class looks deep at cornerback. New Orleans could snatch up one of the top prospects in the first round, but would likely need to trade up. There are several talented corners that will also be available through rounds 2 and 3. Today's draft spotlight looks at a player that should come off the board in that range but has been overshadowed by the bigger names in his draft class.
AARON ROBINSON, CORNERBACK (CENTRAL FLORIDA)
Pro Day 40m = 4.38
Pro Day Vertical Jump = 37”
NFL.com Comparison (Lance Zierlein):
Steven Nelson (Steelers)
Originally enrolling at Alabama after being a four-star recruit out of Deerfield Beach High School in Florida, Robinson appeared in 13 games as a reserve for the Crimson Tide in 2016. He elected to transfer to UCF after the year. After sitting out the 2017 season, he had 9 tackles over seven games as a reserve in 2018.
Robinson worked his way into the starting lineup in 2019. He had 1 interception, 5.5 tackles for loss, and was second on the team with 9 passes broken up on his way to 2nd team All-American conference honors. Robinson was again a 2nd team All-American pick in 2020. He led the Knights with 7 passes broken up while adding a career-high 41 tackles.
Robinson has the necessary speed to run with any receiver, but doesn't always play up to that speed on the field. He tends to panic when he loses a step in coverage, grabbing onto a receiver and drawing penalties.
Prone to freezing on double moves and route fakes, Robinson must show better patience and route recognition. He’s been vulnerable to busted coverage against savvy wideouts who disguise their routes effectively.
Robinson has a physical jam when in press coverage and has the strength to handle bigger receivers. He has an explosive burst to the ball and a smooth transition against combo routes. Is solid in run support and is a fundamentally sound tackler who delivers a pop.
Robinson takes smart angles to the ball as a tackler and in coverage. He’s aggressive against receivers throughout a route, whether over the middle or along the sideline. Has the versatility to play off the ball or press coverage from both the slot and outside.
Aaron Robinson improved his stock at the Senior Bowl, but must hone his instincts and route recognition at the NFL level. He’ll be drafted in the second or third round and will also be an immediate contributor on special teams. Robinson brings the versatility and athleticism to fit into any defensive scheme with the upside of a reliable number 2 corner.