Can Adrien Robinson Be the New York Giants Starting Tight End in 2013?

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Can Adrien Robinson Be the New York Giants Starting Tight End in 2013?
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Adrien Robinson saw all of his catches in practice during his rookie season.

What a difference a couple of tweets make.

Up until Wednesday, it appeared that re-signing free agent Martellus Bennett was in the Giants plans and a realistic option.

In his first year in New York, the 26-year-old tight end finally had a season worthy of his talent. He started all 16 games for Big Blue, catching 55 passes for 626 yards and five TD's. He also proved to be a strong blocker and all-around solid football player outside of his pass-catching abilities.

According to Pro Football Focus, Bennett was actually the fifth best tight end in the NFL in 2012—when blocking, penalties and dropped passes, among other criteria, are factored into the player's overall performance.

In addition to his performance warranting a new contract from the Giants, Bennett went on record back in late December that he wanted to remain with the organization. He even admitted that he would be willing to provide a "hometown discount" to stay in the Big Apple with Big Blue.

Well it appears that the Giants do not share the same sentiment. In response to a tweet from WFAN's Paul Dottino, Bennett shared how contract negotiations are going with his current team:

 

Based on that exchange, Bennett may not be a part of the Giants offense in 2013 after all. If the team decides to go elsewhere for a starting tight end next season, who will it be? Bear Pascoe recently re-signed with the Giants, but he certainly does not have the pass catching ability to start at tight end for an air-oriented offensive attack.

Travis Beckum, like Bennett, is also an unrestricted free agent. He has never received a real opportunity with New York in his four seasons with the team, so it would be shocking to see him even re-sign with them let alone start for Big Blue next season.

Free agency is, of course, an option. But if they aren't going to resign Bennett, for what likely would be a very reasonable deal as I detailed back in January, why would they sign anyone else on the open market? As for the draft, the Giants have too many holes to fill on defense and the offensive line to draft a starting-caliber tight end.

The logical conclusion then is that their fourth round draft pick from 2012, Adrien Robinson, will start for Big Blue next season.

There is ample evidence to suggest that the former Cincinnati Bearcat will get the nod. For starters, he was tabbed as the Jason Pierre-Paul of tight ends by Jerry Reese right after he was drafted last April.

Reese's affection for Robinson has not subsided as you can see in the below quote from Feb. 25, courtesy of Dan Salomone at Giants.com:

“He flashed a lot of good things at practice,” he said of the Cincinnati product. “I just think he needs to get out there and play. I think it’s the number one thing you need to do with players – put them out there and let them play. Hopefully he’ll be able to get out there and play. That’s what’s most important for me – to get him out there.”

That sounds like a ringing endorsement for a starting spot from a pretty important member of the Giants organization.

Is Robinson ready to go from not catching a pass for Big Blue in 2012 to starting for them in 2013? His college numbers don't suggest he is, as he only caught 29 passes for 434 yards and five TDs in four seasons at Cincinnati. Also, this scouting report from Pro Football Weekly isn't very encouraging either:

A raw, one-year starter who looks the part ... Has intriguing timed speed to run down the field with long, loping strides and boasts a 39½-inch vertical and a broad jump of 11 feet 3 inches. However, his agility and suddenness do not parallel his linear/explosive numbers. Shows blocking potential, as he has stature and long arms ... Is relatively inexperienced, unpolished and weak physically despite five years in the program. Developmental project.

Will Adrien Robinson be the Giants starting tight end next season?

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It is possible that Robinson learned a lot in practice and from watching games during his rookie season. He certainly has a great tight ends coach in Mike Pope teaching him. It is hard to believe though that a "developmental project" with virtually no NFL game experience (he only saw action in two games last season for the Giants) is going to all of a sudden start for an offensive-minded team with Super Bowl aspirations.

If the Giants decide not to resign Bennett and instead look to Robinson to fill the starting tight end spot, it may end up being the biggest mistake they make this offseason. 

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