EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The most prolific wide receiver in Giants history, Amani Toomer, was a second-round draft choice. Sterling Shepard, who is eighth on the franchise's career receptions list and is the longest-tenured player on the current roster, was selected in the second round. So was Steve Smith, who holds the Giants' single season record with 107 catches in 2009 and made a critical reception on the decisive drive in Super Bowl XLII.
The Giants Friday evening selected another wideout with intriguing potential in the second round of the NFL Draft when they chose Wan'Dale Robinson of the University of Kentucky. He was picked 11th in the round and 43rd overall after the Giants twice traded down in the round.
"I always felt like I was talented enough to be picked this early," Robinson said. "I just felt like somebody just had to believe in me and not believe in the hype thing and just believe in the football player."
The Giants do believe in Robinson, who joins a group of receivers that includes Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, Kadarius Toney (last year's first-round selection) and Shepard, who is progressing in his rehabilitation of the Achilles tendon he tore in December.
"(Robinson is a) good football player we've had our eye on, generator with the ball in his hands, very good run after the catch, very good route runner, can separate," general manager Joe Schoen said. "And for what we are going to do offensively, we thought he would be a very good fit for us."
"Like Joe mentioned, he's versatile, got quickness, explosiveness, he's tough even for a smaller guy," coach Brian Daboll said. "Been a very productive player really going back to high school when he played there in Kentucky. So, a guy we're anxious to get our hands on and work with and implement into our scheme."
View the best photos from second round pick and former Kentucky wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson.
Robinson, 5-11 and 185 pounds, played his final season at Kentucky after two years at Nebraska.
In his three collegiate seasons, he played in 31 games with 24 starts and caught 195 passes for 2,248 yards (11.5-yard avg.) and 10 touchdowns. He also had 141 rushing attempts for 691 yards and four touchdowns, as well as seven punt returns and 11 kickoff returns. In his lone season at Kentucky in 2021, Robinson set career highs with 104 receptions, 1,334 yards and seven touchdowns and was named second-team All-SEC.
Asked for a scouting report on himself, Robinson said, "tough, elusive, exciting - just a playmaker."
Robinson joins the Giants' two first-round selections, Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux (selected No. 5 overall) and Alabama tackle Evan Neal (No. 7). The Giants own two third-round selections later Friday night.
The Giants began the day with the fourth selection in the second round, No. 36 overall. But Schoen had no intention of staying there, trading twice within a matter of minutes to acquire two extra choices, one in the fourth round and another in the fifth.
"We had deals in place before the draft started," Schoen said. "So, we were confident. We knew we could move back. That was part of the plan."
The first deal was with the Jets. The Giants moved back two spots to No. 38 and added the third pick in the fifth round. That gave the Giants three choices in that round, the third (No. 146 overall), the fourth (147), which they already owned, and No. 30/173, which they acquired in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens last Aug. 31.
The Giants' ownership of the 38th pick was very brief. Moments later, they dealt it to the Atlanta Falcons for the 11th choice in the second round, No. 43 overall, and the ninth selection in the fourth round, No. 114. The Giants had traded their own fourth rounder – fifth in the round and No. 110 overall – to the Ravens last August. But they hold the Chicago Bears' pick in the round – No. 112 overall – from the 2021 draft day trade that netted them the seventh overall pick in this year's draft, which they used to select Neal.
The trades left the Giants with six selections in tomorrow's third and final day of the draft - two in the fourth round, three in the fifth and one in the sixth.
"We just thought it was what was best for us at this time," Schoen said. "More picks would benefit us the most we thought based on who was on our board."
Schoen wasn't the only executive interested in trading. Nine deals were made during the second round.
Robinson was one of a record 13 wide receivers taken in the first two rounds. When a reporter suggested to Schoen that the newest Giants receiver has a similar skillset to Toney, the G.M. asked, "Is that a bad thing?"
Clearly, he thinks not.
"I'll take as many of those guys as we can on the field," Schoen said. "Again, he's a generator when the ball is in his hands. He can run after the catch. He can separate from DBs, he gets open. He played some running back at Nebraska. That's a versatile piece you can use in your offense. If you look at some of the other guys, how you can use them, and if you look at Daboll's past or you look at (offensive coordinator Mike) Kafka's past in terms of the creativeness in their offense and the weapons they can utilize, I think you can kind of see what the vision may look like."