When the New Orleans Saints signed free agent cornerback Kyle Wilson, I scratched my head just a bit because he seemed completely off my radar for the team.
Although they never came out and said this, I believe that the intentions were to re-sign cornerback Patrick Robinson on the cheap for a 1-2 year contract.
Robinson was hanging in free agency limbo for a while and as the weeks dragged on it seemed as if he’d likely be back in New Orleans.
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Well, on March 19th he did sign a one year deal but with the San Diego Chargers instead for a reported $2 million.
There was no way that the Saints were going to pay that amount for Robinson and especially for what likely would be as a slot corner.
Oct 5, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Patrick Robinson (21) walks off the field after a win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Buccaneers 37-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
I didn’t really know who might be brought in to compete at the nickel spot and wrote in a previous article about Terrance Newman being a good option.
The other school of thought was that the Saints were possibly content with letting someone like Brian Dixon take over the corner slot position in the secondary.
When Wilson was brought in the first thing I asked was, “Did we just get another P-Rob?”
I’ll admit that ever since his name was announced as the 32nd pick in the 2010 NFL Draft by quarterback Drew Brees, I’ve never been a fan of Robinson.
I remember thinking I couldn’t believe the Saints chose him and the silence that followed combined with the uncomfortable look on Brees’ face was an omen.
Not that Robinson wasn’t talented mind you, it’s just he was inconsistent and by his own admission lacking the self confidence to play the position.
He had one breakout season in 2011 where he had a career high 4 interceptions with 47 tackles and 15 passes defended.
Wilson mirrored Robinson somewhat in the fact that he was likewise a 2010 first round pick, taken by the New York Jets at #29, who failed to live up to lofty expectations.
The 2011 season, like Robinson’s, was also Wilson’s best effort with 2 interceptions, 41 tackles, and 6 passes defended.
The more you look at it, the more it seems the Saints actually downgraded by not snatching Robinson back up when they had the chance.
According to Pro Football Focus, Robinson graded out at 4.4 as a slot corner last season while Wilson had a -4.6.
Granted though that Robinson was only logged as being in the slot for six games while Wilson was for the entire 2014 season.
For the 2014 season PFF has Robinson ranked #40 and Wilson at #75 out of 108 cornerbacks.
With these stats it’s not a very impressive outlook for the former Jets corner who signed with the Saints for the bare veteran league minimum of $745,000…which should tell you something.
Aug 16, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (12) catches the ball to score a touchdown as New York Jets cornerback Kyle Wilson (20) defends during the first quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Wilson does have some experience as far as a return man with 4 kickoff returns for 48 yards/12 yard avg. and 23 punt returns for 154 yards/6.7 yard avg.
But even that is little consolation for those thinking Wilson might have an impact with his veteran presence.
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Understandably some players may flourish with a new system and this may well be the case for Wilson with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
As for the question I asked earlier on it appears that the answer is pretty obvious until it’s proven otherwise and it’s coming from a “P-Rob skeptic” mind you.
It seems the Saints unfortunately have traded a Patrick Robinson for a straight up Kyle Wilson…..