The Atlanta Falcons cut a few notable names yesterday, and one of them was veteran cornerback Dunta Robinson. I’ve seen posts on various Pats sites such as NESN and NE Patriots Life wondering if Robinson could be a fit for the Patriots, and I had a fan send me an email on the subject of Robinson going to the Patriots.
There are more than a few fans wondering if Robinson could be a fit for the Patriots, and a couple of people are for the move if his price tag is cheap. In my opinion, the New England Patriots should avoid signing Robinson no matter the price tag.
The two biggest pluses to Robinson’s game are his speed and run defense, but Robinson is more of a straight-line speed guy and bites on double-moves and gives up a high volume of catches. If you look at his coverage grades from the Pro Football Focus over the past few seasons, they are well-below average. Now if Robinson made plays, then those struggles in coverage would mean less. However, as NESN notes in the link above, Robinson barely picks off passes and is not exactly a playmaker in the secondary.
Robinson is more of a slot corner due to his ability in run defense and interesting pass rushing ability, but the Patriots already have a slot corner who is excellent in both regards. Kyle Arrington will also come cheaper than Robinson, and the Patriots have plenty of familiarity with the younger corner who has more upside than Robinson and also makes more plays.
If the Patriots try to go after Robinson, then they are going for the wrong replacement at corner. The Pats will be fine if they re-sign Arrington and Aqib Talib if the latter’s price isn’t bloated. There are far better Plan B’s set to hit the free agent market than Robinson. Even though I am not a fan of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, I would actually rather have the Philadelphia Eagles free agent bust than Dunta Robinson. I like Robinson’s run defense and that is something the Patriots value, but this secondary is already filled with great run defenders. What the Patriots need at corner is somebody who is solid in coverage, and Robinson is not that guy.
Frankly, it would be a waste of time, money, and a roster spot to go after Robinson. Just re-sign the cheaper and better Arrington, focus on keeping Talib, and then look at a better replacement option for Talib in a guy like Chris Houston if Talib doesn’t stay. The Patriots need to focus on their wide receivers to the outside, because they have a solid slot guy in Arrington whose skill-set is restricted to the slot. Ras-I Dowling also showed potential in the slot.
I know that Robinson was a right corner with the Falcons and not a slot guy; I focused on the slot due to his skill-set and suggestions I have read from fans. I am also dispelling the notion that Robinson can play in the slot in order to show that there is no fit for him on the outside or inside.
There is a reason why the Falcons dropped him even though they have unsettled backups and an impending UFA in top corner Brent Grimes. Robinson was just that bad in Atlanta, because the Pro Football Focus had him allowing a whopping 103.0 QB Rating last season. That is a terrible total, and this is not something new with Robinson (90.5 allowed in 2011, 98.6 in 2010).
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.