Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is excited about his 2020 rookie class and deservedly so. Yet, comparing one of his prospects to an all-time NFL great might be a bit of a stretch.
The Raiders desperately needed help with their defensive secondary due to a lack of talent. Other than Trayvon Mullen, there was no real long-term answer at cornerback for the Silver and Black after the 2019 season. General manager Mike Mayock decided to address this position via the 2020 NFL Draft rather than investing big money on overpriced free agents. After landing Damon Arnette in the first round, Raiders brass chose Amik Robertson with their final selection of the draft.
Jon Gruden: “He’s my favorite guy”
Head coach Jon Gruden spoke on Robertson’s potential, comparing him to another cornerback that helped get him the lone Super Bowl victory on his resume.
“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 powerful guy, he’s got great quickness, he’s got incredible recognition and he’s a good tackler.”
Robertson’s potential is there, he has the tackling ability which the Raiders desperately need, and of course, the quickness as Gruden alluded to. In college he showed that despite his height, he can cover taller receivers. In spite of that, comparing him to Barber before setting foot on an NFL field against pro wide receivers is a stretch. There’s nothing wrong with a coach being excited about a rookie addition and more than likely it’s Gruden hyping up the pick.
Love that Amik Robertson pick for the Raiders. Heâ€™s a dog. Here he is at 5-8 dominating 6-6 Collin Johnson off the line pic.twitter.com/0Xe55I59xb
— Dalton Johnson (@DaltonJ_Johnson) April 25, 2020
Barber, in case you’ve forgotten, was a three-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Forming part of that legendary 2002 defense that led the team to the only Super Bowl win in their history.
Again, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a coach promoting his players but you also don’t want to speak too soon and put unnecessary pressure on them, especially rookies. Robertson could very well end up being a Pro Bowl cornerback or just as easily be out of the league in four or five years, we’ll have to wait to see him in action first. Football can’t get here soon enough.
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*Top Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images