Eagles Showing Major Interest in XFL Standout Safety

Kenny Robinson

Getty XFL safety Kenny Robinson improved his NFL draft stock and may go in the first round in April.

Kenny Robinson. Remember the name on draft day.

Robinson has fielded calls from five different NFL teams already this offseason. Since in-person visits aren’t allowed under the country’s quarantine policy, the phone conversations centered around his background and expulsion from West Virginia University for academic misconduct. The Eagles were one of those five interested teams, per NJ Advance Media’s Mike Kaye.

It’s been a long journey for Robinson. Last October, he signed up for the fledgling XFL where he was drafted by the St. Louis BattleHawks and recorded two interceptions, two pass break-ups and 21 tackles in five games. (Coincidentally, one of those picks came courtesy of former Eagle Matt McGloin).

The move has raised the ball-hawking safety’s NFL draft stock considerably. The XFL was forced to end its inaugural season on March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and some of the league’s players have already signed with NFL teams in free agency. However, Robinson remains draft-eligible because of leftover college eligibility. He’ll be on the big board on April 23.

“I want teams to know that I’m mature and ready to contribute right away,” Robinson told NJ Advance Media. “I’m focused and I can handle everything that comes with it.”

The 21-year-old had to grow up fast, too. Robinson’s mother was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2018 and he had to shoulder the load back at home while making sure she made her doctor’s appointments on time and received proper care. It was tough but it opened a new path for him.

“It was either go to school or help take care of my family and do what I love,” Robinson told XFL.com. “The XFL is also paying for me to take classes still, so I can take classes and get my degree and take care of my family at the same time.”

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Scouting Report: First Round or Day 3

The projections have been all over the place for Kenny Robinson, from Day 3 all the way up to Day 1. The biggest concerns revolve around his effort and tackling, specifically the angles he takes in pursuing ball-carriers. These are fixable issues and the fact he got a chance to play in the XFL when no other player in the draft did should give him a huge leg up on the competition.

Robinson is a trailblazer and remains the only player who has ever left the college ranks to play in a professional football league. He was taking real hits and learning real playbooks in the XFL while other draft prospects were participating in the NFL Scouting Combine. The experience may have moved him into the first round, according to Pro Football Focus.

After being one of the best safeties in college football in 2017 and 2018, allowing less than 45% of the passes into his coverage to be completed, he dominated the XFL by intercepting two of the eight passes into his coverage while generating one quarterback pressure and five stops for the St. Louis BattleHawks. He intercepted seven passes and broke up another five as a collegiate player, and — as you’ll see below — he projects as one of the best playmakers in the class as a result.

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Eagles Need to Draft Future Safety Help

There is no question the Eagles need to draft a young safety. They have to feel comfortable heading into the season with Rodney McLeod and Jalen Mills manning the position, otherwise, they wouldn’t have let Malcolm Jenkins walk in free agency. The problem is there isn’t much depth behind them.

Sure, newcomer Will Parks will get a chance to compete and carve out a role. Yes, the organization remains high on the fleet-footed Rudy Ford. But the Eagles are in dire need of drafting a young player who can lock down the position for years and years to come.

That man could be Kenny Robinson. He checks all the boxes: a lethal hitter standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing 200 pounds. (For comparison, Brian Dawkins was 6-foot and 210 pounds). More than that, Robinson seems to have all the intangibles.

“He’s athletic. He’s got great range. He’s got great ball skills,” said St. Louis BattleHawks coach Jonathan Hayes, via XFL.com. “He’s a smart kid, understands the game, very instinctive. Those are the things that you dream for with a safety. He’ll come up and put you on the ground.”

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