PFF picks Wan'Dale Robinson as rookie set to make big impact
Wan'Dale Robinson is one of the four rookies listed as starters on the Giants' first unofficial depth chart of the regular season, and according to Pro Football Focus, the young receiver could play a large role in the offense this year.
PFF's Marcus Mosher chose 10 rookies set to make the biggest impact during the 2022 season, where Robinson was one of the few players not selected in the first round to make the list.
"Robinson didn't do much in the preseason, but it's clear the Giants will get him the ball early and often," Mosher wrote. "Look for Robinson to have the lowest average depth of target on the team, but for new head coach Brian Daboll to target him frequently as he did with Cole Beasley and Isaiah McKenzie in Buffalo. It's worth pointing out that Beasley and McKenzie (primarily slot receivers in Buffalo) totaled 138 targets last season. While Robinson won't approach that number, don't be surprised if he leads the Giants in targets as a rookie."
Robinson put together an impressive junior campaign at Kentucky last season. He caught 104 passes for 1,334 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games. The receptions and receiving yards set single-season school records, while the 104 catches ranked third in the nation.
He finished with a 91.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus last year, which ranked as the best among all SEC wide receivers. He had 8+ receptions in eight of Kentucky's 13 games in 2021. Additionally, he ranked sixth among wide receivers with 22 missed tackles forced and 16 deep catches, highlighting his ability to line up all over the field.
Prior to transferring to Kentucky, Robinson spent two seasons at Nebraska where he registered 134 rush attempts for 580 yards (4.3 avg.) and four touchdowns, adding 91 receptions for 914 yards and another three scores.
View the best photos of the Giants' 2022 rookie class from training camp and the preseason.
Cold Calls, Grandparents & American Idol: The Brian Daboll Story
Brian Daboll was about to graduate from the University of Rochester in 1997 when he embarked on a sun and surf getaway college students have pursued for generations.
Accompanied by a friend, Daboll departed upstate New York and travelled to Virginia Beach, where he not only found warmth and good times, but his life's work. They were driving in Williamsburg, near the campus of the College of William & Mary. Daboll's friend, knowing he wanted to be a football coach, told him, "There's a cool school. You should go and check it out."
And he did. Like a salesman making a cold call, he walked into the football office unannounced.
"I went up to the secretary and asked, 'Can I talk to the head coach (Jimmye Laycock),'" Daboll said. "She's like, 'Do you have an appointment?' Coming from a D-III school, it's a little different. I said, 'No. I want to talk to somebody about trying to get a job.' She's said, 'Hold on a second.' She came back and said, 'There's the defensive coordinator. You can talk to him.' His name is Russ Huesman. He's a head coach right now in college (at Richmond).
"There was a person who was in the role I went (to talk about). It was a volunteer role. You weren't getting any money. He decided he wanted to go to law school – that day. So, they said, 'Yeah, you can come and help the staff for no money.' And I was like, 'Let's go.'"
But first there was the little matter of telling his grandmother, Ruth Kirsten, who had raised him, that he would make not even a dollar despite the economics degree he had earned from a esteemed university.
"That was a fun talk," Daboll said. "I just went to a pretty prestigious school, and I was going to take a job that paid me no money. She asked, 'How much is it for?' I said, 'No money.' She said, 'What the hell is wrong with you? Why the hell did you go to school?'"
Certainly, valid concerns at the time. But no one can question if Daboll made the correct decision. This is his 26th consecutive season as a football coach. Daboll, 47, was part of five Super Bowl championship teams in two stints with the New England Patriots and won a national championship at the University of Alabama. His mentors include coaching titans Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. He has worked with some of history's best quarterbacks, including Tom Brady and Brett Favre. This year, Daboll reached the pinnacle of his profession when became the 20th head coach in Giants history.
"This is a special franchise," Daboll said. "The ownership group – the Mara family and the Tisch family – what the Giants mean to this community, to the people in this building, the scouting side to the coaching side to the administrative side to the business side to strength. I'm trying to take it day by day and get a little bit better each day. Trying to do it right and treat people right. It's a lot of work. To be good, you've got to be skilled, got to work hard and maybe a little bit of luck. This place has been fantastic since I've been here."
View photos of head coach Brian Daboll's time with the New York Giants.