Las Vegas Raiders fourth-round pick Amik Robertson is already making an excellent impression on his new coaching staff and he’s drawing rave reviews.
Despite being the last of seven selections the Raiders made in this past draft, Robertson could see significant snaps not only in the future, but as soon as this upcoming season.
And by the looks of things, he seems to have a fan in his new head coach.
Jon Gruden has raved about Robertson even going as far as to insinuate that he was his favorite selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. In an interview with Jerry McDonald of the Mercury News, he had the following to say about the young cornerback.
"“I hate to come out and say he’s my favorite guy, but selfishly, deep down, somewhere inside of me, I wanted that guy bad. I just love what he’s about. He’s got a lot of Ronde Barber traits. He’s a different dude on game day. He’s not little, he’s just short. He’s just not tall. He’s a powerful guy, he’s got great quickness, he’s got incredible recognition and he’s a good tackler.”"
The comparison to Ronde Barber is a flattering one seeing as the undersized Barber essentially revolutionized the slot cornerback position. Robertson is similarly undersized but the two share one thing in common.
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Much like Barber, Robertson is a fierce competitor on the field who flashes his physicality and toughness at will. Gruden said it best when he referred to Robertson as “short” but not “little.”
At 5-foot-8, 187 pounds, Robertson isn’t going to overwhelm receivers with his size and length, but his ferocity combined with elite ball skills and instincts allow him to excel despite his smaller stature.
Now, it’s likely that Robertson is confined to a slot role in the NFL — but that’s just fine for the Raiders. At the moment, veteran Lamarcus Joyner is expected to see the most action out of the slot in 2020.
But Joyner struggled immensely in that role last season and he likely isn’t the future at the position. Ideally, Robertson will be the Raiders’ long-term plan at slot cornerback.
The team could cut Joyner after this year and take on very little in dead cap. And if he puts together another disappointing season, the Raiders likely won’t hesitate to move on.
Robertson will likely be given every opportunity to earn the slot cornerback job whether it’s this season or the next.
He may not be the biggest player on the field, but Robertson is out to prove that he could still become one of the most important players on the Raiders’ defense.
And it certainly doesn’t hurt that he has the overwhelming support of his head coach.