The Las Vegas Raiders are looking much-improved heading into the 2020 NFL season after a successful offseason. Although, as with every other team, they will not be able to meet in person for quite some time due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Raiders have some pretty intriguing pieces on both sides of the ball.
Of course, the focus will be on the Raiders’ top draft pick in Henry Ruggs III, as well as key free agent additions like Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski. However, there is one other player that head coach Jon Gruden is particularly excited about and that’s Amik Robertson.
Robertson was drafted by the Raiders with their last pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Lousiana Tech. According to Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area, Robertson was high on Gruden’s radar despite going into the seventh round:
“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,” Gruden said to the Mercury News’ Jerry McDonald. “I just love what he’s about.”
Robertson provided some highlight plays during his time at Louisiana Tech as a cornerback. Despite standing at just 5’8″, he was able to notch 14 interceptions and 138 solo tackles across his three-year collegiate career.
Although Robertson was listed as a cornerback, he believes he can play in a number of positions. He proved during his time in college that his size will not stop him from making plays on guys much bigger than him.
Gruden has plenty of experience with a smaller defender like Robertson, as he compared the newest Raider to a former player of his with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Ronde Barber:
“He’s got a lot of Ronde Barber traits,” Gruden said. “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.”
If Robertson can come anywhere close to Barber’s career, he should be in for a legendary time with the Raiders. Barber finished his 16-year career having won one Super Bowl while being a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro selection.
Although Robertson believes he can be a multi-positional defender, the Raiders would likely want to use him as a cornerback given that remains one of the weakest areas of the team. Robertson is another piece added to strengthen an already impressive Raiders defense that should create trouble for the league in 2020 and beyond.