Cornerback Patrick Robinson will spend this summer confirming or revising his tenure with the Saints.
Robinson, a 2010 first-round selection, will likely exit training camp or the 2014 preseason as one of the franchise’s worst draft decisions in recent memory or a young player who despite a robust list of early career miscues and injuries, still has a future in the NFL.
Robinson is coming off a season-ending knee injury suffered during a Week 2 loss at Tampa Bay.
“He’s moving around well, and there’s some rust, I’m sure, he’s working through,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “But his rehab has been real good. He’s worked real hard at it. He seems to be moving pretty fluidly. I’m sure if he continues to do that and be more comfortable with the football movements; that will help.”
The 2014 torn tendon in his knee marked his latest injury setback. He’s also suffered foot issues.
“He was looking great in all the OTAs, then he got hurt late,” defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said.
“Then he’s looking great in training camp, then he gets hurt, comes back. He’s been through a lot.”
In 60 career games (27 starts), Robinson has collected seven interceptions. His biggest workload came during a forgettable 2012 season where he started all 16 games for what was at the time, the worst defense in league history.
On Thursday, Robinson, healthy again and back on the field, spent time working out with the Saints’ first-team defense. Not that his journey through the depth chart will be that easy.
The Saints spent this offseason beefing up their secondary, signing future Hall of Famer Champ Bailey from Denver and drafting Nebraska’s Stanley Jean-Baptiste in the second round.
Bailey and New Orleans native Keenan Lewis are projected as starters.
Robinson, meanwhile, will have to compete against Jean-Baptiste, third-year pro Corey White and second-year pro Rod Sweeting.
“We’re going to have competition all over, but we think Patrick is going to be great for us, and we know he will be,” Ryan said.
Ryan’s defense is expected to utilize more than two cornerbacks during the 2014 season as it prepares to face passing-oriented offenses, including Atlanta and Carolina in the NFC South. Such challenges will create opportunities for Robinson at nickelback or dimeback.
That’s if the Saints opt to hang on to him.
Robinson has the size (he’s listed at 5-foot-11, 191 pounds.) and speed, but does he have the skills?
(“This offseason), it’s important for him because of that injury,” Payton said.
“There’s always that sense of urgency.”