2020 NFL Draft: Amik Robertson deserves more respect

Amik Robertson dominated college football at Louisiana Tech, yet finds himself far down draft boards.

2020 NFL Draft prospect Amik Robertson was about as dominant a player you could ask for at the collegiate level. A two-time first-team All-Conference USA selection, Robertson amassed 14 interceptions in his three-year career at Louisiana Tech and tied for the most passes defended (16) in all of NCAA football in 2019.

You would expect a player of Robertson’s caliber to receive quite a bit of media attention at the NFL Combine. However, while eight of his fellow 2020 NFL Draft defensive back classmates took to the main podiums, Robertson found himself tucked away at a side table, an area with sparse media presence, surrounded by players that are mostly Day 3 prospects in the NFL Draft.

How could a player that produced NCAA-best numbers be so far down the totem pole among 2020 cornerbacks? I had to ask Robertson if he felt disrespected.

“Most definitely. I’ve been doubted my whole life. It’s something I’m kind of used to. But it’s all part of it. As long as I get an opportunity, I’ll be able to show the world why a lot of teams shouldn’t overlook me.”

The most obvious reason Robertson isn’t considered a first, or even second, round pick is his size. At 5-foot-9, the ballhawk will not be considered to play at the valuable outside cornerback position. Instead, he will mainly be limited to defending the slot in the NFL. However, this position is a growing priority in today’s NFL, and several undersized defensive backs coming out of college have put together incredibly successful NFL careers, most notably, Tyrann Mathieu.

“I feel like I’m a hybrid. I play outside, inside, something like Tyrann Mathieu is doing. A guy that I look up to a lot…that I identify my game by.”

A fellow Louisiana-native with top-notch ball skills and nearly identical in size, Mathieu is a natural comparison for Robertson. With 15 total turnovers at LSU compared to Robertson’s 16 at Louisiana Tech, Mathieu and Robertson are comparable on the stat sheet as well as in their size and talent. But Robertson mentioned the most important comparison between the two:

“I also get that comparison because of my ability to make plays, and also most importantly, the passion I have for the game.”

Robertson not participating in 2020 NFL Scouting Combine

Here in Indianapolis at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, Robertson, unfortunately, won’t be participating in any on-field workouts. The star cornerback has been battling a groin injury this offseason and wasn’t able to prepare for the Combine-specific drills like the forty-yard, vertical jump, and agility drills. Robertson says he’s at 100% now, and, on par with his confident and competitive nature, said he “begged” his agent to participate.

“Yesterday talked to my agent and I begged him. I wanted to be out there. I want to show the world why I’m different, why teams should pick me.”

What’s next for Robertson?

The decision to not participate is likely a wise one. Robertson says he hasn’t been able to work on the combine specific drills as he has been focusing on physical therapy. Instead, he will work out at his Pro Day, which he will get more time to prepare for at 100% health.

Despite his unappealing podium assignment at the Combine, there’s no reason to think Robertson can’t blossom in the NFL from early on. Fellow Louisiana Tech teammate at Combine participant L’Jarius Sneed says Robertson can help a team win a Super Bowl, and that he thinks he will be a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. I asked Robertson, a humbly confident individual, his goals and how he views himself in the NFL.

“I see myself as a Day 1 starter, most definitely. Competing for Defensive Rookie of the Year.”

Simply looking at his production, talent, skillset, and demeanour, this doesn’t feel like a stretch at all. If Robertson goes on to have a long and successful career in the NFL, no one should be surprised. Everything you want to see is right in front of you.

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