Raiders’ Amik Robertson Draws Comparison to Legendary CB by Jon Gruden

amik robertson

Getty Las Vegas Raiders CB Amik Robertson.

One thing the Las Vegas Raiders made clear from their 2019 NFL Draft is that they are able to find strong talent later in the draft. Maxx Crosby and Hunter Renfrow were two of the team’s biggest contributors last season. Taking players later in the draft doesn’t always pan out but some of the best players in the NFL weren’t taken in the first three rounds.

The Raiders are hoping they found this year’s biggest steal in cornerback Amik Robertson out of Louisiana Tech. Other than his 5’8 stature, he’s got all the tools to be solid NFL cornerback. However, teams obviously were concerned with his small frame, or else he wouldn’t have fallen to the fourth round. Regardless, head coach Jon Gruden couldn’t hide his excitement about Robertson in an interview with Jerry McDonald of The Mercury News:

Skip Holtz coached at South Florida and Tampa, where I’m from. They’ve got guys from that (Louisiana Tech) staff that were at USF. 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.

Though fourth rounders aren’t always projected to have big impacts in their rookie seasons, it’s hard not to imagine Robertson having a year similar to Crosby’s 2019 season.

Gruden Also Compared Another Player to Barber

If Robertson is hoping to have a big rookie year, he’ll need to beat out another player on the roster who Gruden has compared to Barber. As Vic Tafur pointed out on Twitter, the coach had similar comments about LaMarcus Joyner.

Joyner didn’t end up having anywhere close to the kind of impact that the Raiders were hoping for in 2019. Barber was one of the best cornerbacks of the 2000s but Joyner isn’t close to that. However, Robertson still has a chance to at least get close to that level. Barber is a little taller than Robertson, but still not all that tall. Neither guy was drafted very high and they both have a lot of swagger. That said, Robertson will need to develop into one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL if Gruden’s comparison is correct. Time will tell.

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Will Robertson Be a Starter by Week 1?

The first Robertson will need to do in his journey into becoming the next Barber is to beat out Joyner. It’s still possible the Raiders might have plans for the rookie on the outside, but he projects better as a nickel corner.

The team has a lot of money invested in Joyner and they make it seem like they believe in him. However, Raiders defensive backs coach Jim O’Neil already stated that they will train him a little hit at safety. That could indicate they aren’t completely sold on him staying the slot. To start the season, it’s most likely that Joyner doesn’t move. If the Raiders feel like he’s still struggling, there’s a very good shot that they give Robertson a shot to take over the position before the season is over.

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