EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – When the Giants signed his good friend, cornerback Adoree' Jackson on March 23, safety Logan Ryan said the team's secondary is "probably as talented as anyone in the league."
On Friday night, it improved even more.
The Giants moved up five spots in the third round of the NFL Draft to select cornerback Aaron Robinson of Central Florida with the 71st overall pick. To do so, they surrendered the fifth-round choice they acquired from the Chicago Bears in Thursday's first round.
Robinson, 6-1 and 193 pounds, is a versatile, athletic and physical defensive back.
"Where Aaron fits in is he gives us more perimeter muscle, so to speak, and he's also got that flexibility to play the nickel and play the star," general manager Dave Gettleman said. "We think he's a great fit, obviously, because we traded up, hello, stating the obvious. Captain Obvious. We think he's a great fit for our defense and our back end and we feel like you can never have too many assets back there because players come and go. You have injuries. People will say it's a passing league and it is to a degree.
"And the other thing that we really liked about Aaron is you do the studies, you do the analytics -I do do it, people - and the best defenses have the best tackling secondaries, and Aaron Robinson is a really good tackling corner."
Robinson will join a secondary that includes cornerbacks James Bradberry, a 2020 Pro Bowler, Jackson and Darnay Holmes and safeties Ryan, Jabrill Peppers and Xavier McKinney. Holmes and McKinney are entering their second seasons.
"I'm ready to get up there and get to work with some great dudes, get around some great coaching, pretty much just set the standard with the brotherhood up there and go to work," Robinson said.
Coach Joe Judge has said several times that in the absence of the scouting combine, which was canceled because of the pandemic, the chance to observe and interact with players at the Senior Bowl was particularly important during the pre-draft evaluation period this year. Robinson was one of the players who made the most of that interaction.
"A-Rob is a good player," Judge said. "We are excited to add him to the program. Going to come in and compete. There's going to be a lot of competition with defensive backs, corners and safeties.
"Look, this is a guy that jumped out to us on tape and as well as when we were down at the Senior Bowl got to see him in person, sit down, meet with him; I had multiple meetings that week. Got the Zoom throughout this process. So, we had a lot of exposure with this guy as a person, and this guy really does, he's got a good personality, he really lights up. This is a guy, he plays on the field and you see when he makes a play, his teammates immediately sprint to him. There's a lot of excitement. You can tell he's got a bond with his teammates, and that stands out with the energy his teammates play with as well."
Robinson began his collegiate career at Alabama, where he first met McKinney and played in 13 games in 2016. After sitting out the following season following his transfer to Central Florida, he played three seasons for the Golden Knights. Robinson was a starter the last two seasons and was selected second-team All-AAC in each.
"(There is) definitely a competitive edge about myself," Robinson said to reporters soon after his selection. "A guy who's willing to take it from every angle, vets, coaching and excel at it in my own game. Really just want to bring guys along, including myself, to create something special."
Robinson played primarily in the slot for UCF but is confident he can excel outside as well.
"Wherever I'm needed," he said. "I'm willing to learn that playbook, get in with my coaches, spend a lot of time around those guys, around those guys in the locker room as well to really learn it and go out and perform to the best of my ability."
The Giants will evaluate Robinson at several spots.
"He's a physical player with good traits and gives us versatility to play inside, outside," Judge said. "This guy has some value to play in the kicking game as well. Just the demeanor he plays with, the physicality and his ability to play in both press and off, he'll give us some options how we can use him."