Wan’Dale Robinson made his presence felt right away during the first week of Giants’ training camp. He made plays vertically and horizontally, and immediately caught the eye of Peter King.
“The star, I thought, of the Giants offense in the practice I saw was Wan’Dale Robinson, the second-round pick out of Kentucky,” Peter King said after he visited Giants training camp. “A smurfy little receiver, he plays a lot of different roles. I see him ending up in the slot in this offense. Talking to Xavier McKinney, the star safety for the Giants, he said ‘This kid is a problem.’”
Developing an early rapport with the quarterback is critical for a rookie receiver, and it looks like Robinson is gaining Daniel Jones’ trust each and every day. As Robinson continues to make noise in camp, his ADP will only ascend.
Here’s what Robinson will bring to the table:
DRAFT DAY CURVEBALL
Giants fans were astonished when Daniel Jones was drafted 6th overall in 2019. His limited arm strength and lack of collegiate competition pointed to his underwhelming upside as a franchise leader. When the Giants hired Joe Schoen to be the new general manager, fans didn’t know what to expect in the draft.
After investing in the trenches with selections of Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal, Schoen and new HC Brian Daboll selected Robinson, a 5’8″ receiver out of Kentucky with the 43rd pick. Deemed a head-scratching pick by many fans and analysts, Schoen’s choice was considered a reach given the Karadius Toney selection just last season. Whereas Gettleman’s reach on Jones seemed blatantly irresponsible, there’s hope that Wan’Dale could be a steal despite qualms from desperate Giants fans.
ELECTRIC PLAYMAKER AT KENTUCKY
After transferring from Nebraska to Kentucky, Robinson had a monster year posting 1,334 yards and seven touchdowns on 104 receptions in 2021. Robinson recorded a 39.3% target share, vacuuming in anything thrown his way as he broke the Kentucky single-season reception and receiving yard records. Wan’Dale finished with the highest PFF grade of all SEC receivers.
CAN WAN’DALE WIN A STARTING JOB?
Looking ahead to his rookie season, there’s reason to anticipate true boom-or-bust sentiment for Robinson. He joins a talented, yet inconsistent receiver group consisting of Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and Sterling Shepard. Golladay didn’t record a single receiving touchdown after inking a 4 year, $72 million deal with the Giants. Toney showed spurts of greatness, but couldn’t stay healthy and proved to be a malcontent throughout his rookie season. As we all know by now, Shepard has struggled to stay on the field and has played 10, 12, and seven games in the last three seasons.
The injuries and inconsistency from the Giants’ receiving core point to why Schoen and Daboll felt Robinson was worth an early second-round pick. The reality is that despite the other receivers, Robinson is the only receiver handpicked by the new coaching regime to upgrade the offense. Daboll has utilized shifty and explosive receivers before — notably with Cole Beasley and Isaiah Mckenzie during his stint in Buffalo. Last season, Daboll orchestrated an aggressive offense with the fourth-most throws over 20 yards. The Bills also had the 3rd fastest offensive pace of play under Daboll, so he wastes no time trying to score, clearly with big plays at the core of his philosophy.
Daboll surely had Robinson in mind when crafting his high-octane offensive strategy. Jones also has a history of throwing an accurate deep ball. in 2020, Jones had the highest passer rating on throws over 20 yards. Robinson likely will serve as the Swiss Army Knife of this offense, used in a variety of ways to bring Daboll’s vision of an effective offense to life.
“Toney and rookie wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson are truly being used as offensive weapons,” wrote Dan Duggan of The Athletic. “It’s notable that they start individual drills by taking handoffs from Jones with the running backs before joining the receivers to work on routes. There will be all sorts of funky plays Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka devise with the versatile duo.”
YEAR-ONE FANTASY EXPECTATIONS
While Wan’Dale certainly has a lot to prove, there are lots of gaps for him to fill as the Giants try to return to their once explosive offense. Due to the depth of skill at the receiver position, Robinson is expected to start as the team’s WR3/4 to start the season. But, fantasy wolves shouldn’t be surprised as he climbs the Giants WR totem pole throughout the season.
The fact that Daboll and Schoen reached on him, along with the expected uptick in offensive tempo means there’s real potential for Robinson to outperform his rising Underdog Fantasy ADP. Robinson checks in at WR71 (+14 vs ECR) and 160 overall on The Wolf’s 2022 Fantasy Rankings — roughly 20 spots ahead of the best ball drafters.
Robinson should be viewed as a boom or bust WR5 with the potential to be a high-floor WR3/Flex if he can assert himself in the Giants’ offense.