And the injuries just keep coming. An MRI on Monday, October 11th confirmed the worst for cornerback Rodarius Williams, as the rookie contributor will miss the remainder of the 2021 NFL season with a torn right ACL. The injury occurred in the Giants’ Week 5 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, where Williams logged 12 defensive snaps before being shut down.
Prior to the team announcing Williams’ torn ACL, head coach Joe Judge was far more optimistic on the extent of the cornerback’s injury, telling reporters on Monday’s conference call that Williams is “getting some final checkups right now and maybe we’ll have an announcement for you guys later today. We’ll see where it goes, but I’m hopeful for the player that it’s not season-ending.”
A sixth-round pick earlier this year, the Oklahoma State product had appeared in all five of Big Blue’s games, totaling 65 snaps (50 defensive and 15 special teams). Williams’ absence will leave Darnay Holmes, Josh Jackson, Sam Beal and Keion Crossen as the lone healthy cornerbacks on the team’s roster behind starters James Bradberry and Adoree’ Jackson. Safety Julian Love also has the ability to move down to the corner spot and man snaps on either the boundary or in the slot — a possibility should fellow safety Jabrill Peppers return to the lineup soon.
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Decision Looming on Aaron Robinson
While a strong camp made Williams the talk of the town in East Rutherford this summer, he wasn’t the most touted cornerback the Giants selected in the 2021 draft. That honor goes to former UCF standout Aaron Robinson, who was snagged in the third round — three rounds earlier than Williams. However, a core injury landed Robinson on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list in late July.
This means the rookie corner isn’t eligible to make his NFL debut until after Week 6 at the earliest. Following the Giants game against the Rams, the team will have a five-week window to either allow Robinson to return to practice, place him on injured reserve, or release him (which won’t happen). When he does ultimately return to practice, a 21-day window begins ticking where the Giants will need to either activate him or place him on season-ending IR.
Darnay Holmes Falling Out of Favor in New York?
Robinson played some on the boundary during his collegiate days, but truly shined in the nickel, where he played predominantly over his final two years in Orlando. Considering that the Giants had opted to play the bigger-bodied Williams (46 snaps) over the aforementioned Darnay Holmes (five snaps) in the past three weeks, it’s evident Patrick Graham is prioritizing physicality and man-to-man defenders in the secondary.
Robinson, who checks in at 6-foot and 193 pounds, would certainly fit that mold, as he flashed prominent man-to-man skills out of the slot during his college days.
Here’s what the Draft Network’s Joe Morino’s had to say about Robinson heading into last April’s draft:
A 4-star recruit that originally committed to Alabama, Aaron Robinson transferred to UCF and became the featured slot cornerback in 2019 and 2020 for the Knights. While he has some experience playing out wide, his best fit at the next level is likely in the slot. Robinson is a versatile defender that can function in both man and zone coverage and he will make the run defense better with his ability to fill and defend the D-gap. Overall, he’s a physical player with quick feet and sufficient athleticism… Robinson has the ability to become a featured slot corner in the NFL, but he will need to become more sure of himself in coverage and play the game with better angles.
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