This year, the Giants have a new offensive system, Robinson has a new position coach in Kevin M. Gilbride, and the team needs a tight end to step up as a reliable receiving target for Eli Manning. Robinson believes he can and will make an impact.
“It’s my third year, my weight’s down, we’ve got a new OC (offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo), new tight ends coach. Everything is fresh; it’s like a clean slate. I’m just ready to go.”
He’s certainly waited long enough. As a rookie two years ago, he missed most of the team’s spring work while completing his academic requirements at the University of Cincinnati. Robinson played catch-up all year and played briefly in just two games. Last year, he suffered a foot injury before training camp and was inactive for the first 14 games. He made his debut on the opening kickoff at Detroit on Dec. 22 and promptly sprained his ACL, sidelining him again after just a few seconds of action.
“It was just tough luck,” Robinson said. “I didn’t need surgery, I just needed rest. It was good from that standpoint.”
Asked if he was frustrated in his first two seasons, Robinson said, “Pretty frustrated, actually. Everyone wants to play as soon as they get here, but there’s nothing you can do about injuries and that pretty much took up my whole second year. I’m just moving forward from there.”
He believes playing in McAdoo’s offense will help him move quickly.
“It’s completely different,” Robinson said. “We (tight ends) move around a lot more in the backfield, different routes. I feel like it’s more fitted for the things that I’m good at. … Especially with this offense, the tight end gets a lot more looks.”
Robinson has worked hard this offseason. He played at 285 pounds last year, is down to 270 and wants to lose another five pounds, which he believes will help make him quicker running pass routes.
“I stay extra every day, stay and get extra film,” Robinson said. “I’m on the elliptical every day trying to get my weight down more, so I’m just doing a lot of things differently. I feel like I’m more mature, I’m more of a professional now, so I have that approach.”
The Giants still have Larry Donnell – who played in every game but caught just three passes last season – and have added veterans Kellen Davis and Daniel Fells and just signed rookie free agent Xavier Grimble.
But the Giants hope Robinson can become the productive multi-dimensional tight end they need in their offense.
“It’s just a huge opportunity,” Robinson said. “They laid the opportunity right in front of me. I just have to go take it and make the most of it.”
Safety Nat Berhe, the first of the Giants’ two fifth-round draft choices, heard from three-time Pro Bowler and team leader Antrel Rolle soon after he was selected.
“We talked on Twitter a little bit,” Berhe said. “He reached out to me, we kept in contact and we’ve been talking. If I have a question, I go to him. Just trying to get in and get close.
“He’s the kind of guy you look to a lot to try to figure out how things are done.”
Berhe played several positions at San Diego State, but the Giants have put him initially at free safety.
“I think that’s a good fit me for me in this defense,” Berhe said. “It gives me the ability to do a lot of things, which I’m used to. So it’s a pretty good deal.”
- The other fifth-round choice, USC linebacker Devon Kennard, is learning both the middle and strongside linebacker positions.
“Right now they have me concentrating on middle linebacker,” Kennard said. “My focus is there, that’s what I’m focused on. They also want to make sure I know the SAM as well.
"I definitely think SAM linebacker is the position that I feel most comfortable with. But that’s because I did it last year, I feel like I can come on the inside as well. I definitely have a passion for rushing the passer, passing situations and things like that but I can also cover and do things like that.”
- Bennett Jackson, the cornerback from Notre Dame chosen in the sixth round, was raised in Hazlet, N.J., about 40 miles from MetLife Stadium.
“It’s crazy,” Jackson said. “My mom was probably the most excited just because I’m not leaving too far.
“It’s great. Growing up in New Jersey, I never had a particular favorite team but I’ve always liked the Giants. I always came to a couple games so it’s just kind of like you’re living out your dream. When you get the chance to actually go out and be a part of such a great organization, it just motivates you that much more to work harder.”