Wan’Dale Robinson

Giants WR Wan’Dale Robinson Suffers Torn ACL

The Giants lost not only their Week 11 game yesterday, but a significant member of their receiving corps in the process. Rookie Wan’Dale Robinson suffered a torn ACL during the game, as head coach Brian Daboll confirmed Monday morning.

The news comes as little surprise after Robinson was carted off the field midway through the game. It nevertheless represents a major blow to New York’s WR room, which was already dealing with a number of injuries. The second-rounder had put up modest numbers through most of the season before the Week 11 loss to Detroit. With nine catches for 100 yards, Robinson had his most productive game to date, and logged a snap share above 70% for the second consecutive week.

The Kentucky alum’s starting role – which some felt before the regular season began would come right away amidst the Giants’ uncertainty at the position – seemed to be confirmed by October given his level of play and New York’s handling of other pass-catchers. That has included a distinct lack of playing time for high-priced signing Kenny Golladay and a trade sending 2021 first-rounder Kadarius Toney to the Chiefs.

Long before that deal had been made, the Giants were reported to be on the lookout for receiver acquisitions. None have been made during what was expected to be a rebuilding season and where the team has been hamstrung by an unenviable cap situation. Robinson joins veteran Sterling Shepard as victims of torn ACLs this season, leaving the Giants even more shorthanded at the skill positions.

Veteran Darius Slayton – who was long a trade and cut candidate this offseason, and hardly played at the start of the year – has taken on a starting role in recent weeks; that will likely continue moving forward. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweets that Richie James is expected to take over in the slot in Robinson’s absence. If anything, this injury should increase the Giants’ pursuit of free agent Odell Beckham Jr. New York and Dallas appear to be the two finalists to land the three-time Pro Bowler, who is expected to make a decision by the end of the month.

Even with Robinson’s contributions, the Giants rank 28th in the league with an average of 195 passing yards per game. That figure will now be in jeopardy of falling, especially if a reunion with Beckham fails to materialize. A resurgent Saquon Barkley has helped the team to a 7-3 record, of course, but the team’s run game will face even more pressure to perform with another important wideout sidelined for the remainder of the campaign.

NFC East Notes: Toney, Eagles, Commanders

Kadarius Toney did not make the trip to London with his Giants teammates, and Brian Daboll offered another discouraging update regarding the 2021 first-round pick’s status. Toney is battling a new injury, with Daboll indicating the reason he did not make the trip is due to a Wednesday tweak of his previously non-injured hamstring (via SNY’s Connor Hughes, on Twitter). Toney is now dealing with injuries to both his hamstrings, and ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan adds (via Twitter) the shifty wideout said the hamstring issue he entered the week with was different from the one that plagued him this offseason. That would add up to three hamstring problems since camp.

Toney has yet to sustain a serious injury as a pro, but he has fast become one of the league’s most unavailable players. Quadriceps and oblique injuries sidelined him for seven combined games last season, and an ankle malady forced him out of another game. Toney missed much of last year’s training camp with a hamstring injury and underwent a knee scope this offseason. The Giants’ current regime is souring on the Dave Gettleman-era investment, who is signed through 2024.

The Giants will be without ToneyKenny Golladay and Wan’Dale Robinson against the Packers in London. The second-round rookie, who has not played since Week 1, will likely be out again. While Golladay will almost certainly not be part of next year’s Giants team, it is worth wondering if Toney will be. Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • The Giants wanted DeVonta Smith last year, but the Eagles traded in front of them. Philadelphia was able to begin wheeling and dealing to land the Heisman winner after its apparent Week 17 tanking effort the year prior. That gave Philly the No. 6 overall pick, though Doug Pederson was no longer with the team by that draft. Pederson never informed Jalen Hurts of the plan to, after not dressing Carson Wentz that night, take him out and play third-stringer Nate Sudfeld, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes. Pederson benching Hurts late in a close, nationally televised game bothered some in the organization, including then-DC Jim Schwartz. Some staffers also wondered if that decision would affect the Pederson-Hurts relationship going forward, McLane adds. That said, Pederson later expressed regret he did not go with Hurts sooner. As Wentz struggled during the 2020 season, the Eagles did not turn to Hurts until Week 14 that year.
  • Eagles management wanted to use the 2021 season to retool with younger talent, Zach Berman of The Athletic notes, while Pederson was behind a reload with a similar coaching staff. Pederson, who had resisted management’s wishes to oust Mike Groh during the 2020 offseason, wanted to promote Press Taylor to OC. That did not sit well with Jeffrey Lurie. Pederson has since hired Taylor as his Jaguars OC.
  • The Andrew NorwellTrai Turner guard reunion may end up being short-lived. The Commanders benched Turner in Week 4, and Ron Rivera said the move will carry over. Saahdiq Charles will start over Turner in Week 5, Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post tweets, with Rivera noting Turner is not fully over the quad injury he battled in camp. Turner nevertheless started from Weeks 2-4 and played 100% of the Commanders’ offensive snaps in Weeks 2 and 3. The former Rivera Panthers charge signed a one-year, $3MM deal this offseason, coming to Washington after one-year stays with the Chargers and Steelers. A third-year Washington O-lineman, Charles has started five career games

Week 1 Injury Roundup: Butker, Jones, Higgins, Rookies

Early in its Week 1 matchup against the Cardinals, Kansas City watched their kicker get carted off the field after Harrison Butker slipped on the kickoff following the team’s opening scoring drive, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. The injury brought on speculation that Chiefs safety Justin Reid may be forced to step in for kicks.

Fortunately, Butker’s injury wasn’t serious enough to keep him permanently out of the game as the sixth-year kicker made his way back onto the field at the end the second half to attempt (and convert) a 54-yard field goal. Still, the Chiefs did play it safe with Butker, calling on Reid to attempt two extra points following Butker’s slip. Reid was successful on his first extra point attempt but missed his second, likely leading to Butker’s return on the field.

Butker kicked the extra points for the remainder of the game, but Kansas City did elect to hold him off the field for kickoffs, letting Reid serve as the kickoff specialist for the rest of the day.

Here are a few other injury notes from around the first week of NFL games, starting with today’s matchup down by South Beach:

  • In a rough opening road trip for the Patriots, quarterback Mac Jones was not made available to the media as he was instructed to go to the X-ray room with a back injury, according to Jim McBride of the Boston Globe. The x-rays turned out to be negative, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, but the team will seek further evaluation on his back injury when they return to Foxborough. It’s unclear at what point in the game Jones suffered the injury, but the 24-year-old completed the game without visible issue.
  • Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins exited the game versus the Steelers today with a concussion after receiving a big hit in the second quarter, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Star receiver Ja’Marr Chase produced as expected, but running back Joe Mixon and new tight end Hayden Hurst had to step up in the passing game with Higgins out. If the concussion keeps Higgins out next week, as well, the Bengals will depend on Tyler Boyd, Mike Thomas, Trent Taylor, and Stanley Morgan to make up for Higgins’ lost production.
  • Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season saw three second-round rookies go down with injuries. The Commanders added one big piece to their defense this offseason in former-Alabama defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis. In the first quarter of NFL play for the rookie, Mathis went down awkwardly on his left leg, according to Charean Williams of NBC Sports, and did not return to the game. Mathis immediately reached for is knee and showed a flash of anger as the Commanders’ medical staff diagnosed the situation. Mathis isn’t a starter but, if the rookie is forced to miss significant time with the injury, it should mean more snaps for second-year defensive tackle Daniel Wise.
  • The Vikings also saw a second-round pick go down when former-Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth left the game with a quad injury, according to Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune. Injuries have plagued the rookie in the past and, if he is forced to miss more time, the Vikings will likely turn to Chandon Sullivan, Kris Boyd, and fellow rookie Akayleb Evans to fill in.
  • The Giants added rookie wideout Wan’Dale Robinson to their list of injured receivers, along with Darius Slayton and Collin Johnson, as he left the game today with a knee injury, according to Dan Salomone of Giants.com. Robinson had leapt ahead of Sterling Shepard to start the game alongside Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney before suffering the injury. The severity of the ailment is unknown for now, but Shepard should be able to step back into a starting role if Robinson is expected to miss a significant amount of time.

Giants Rookie Wan’Dale Robinson In Line To Start?

The Giants have a number of options to choose from at receiver, each of whom is more experienced than Wan’Dale Robinson. The second-round rookie is currently making a case for a starting role right away, however. 

As noted by The Athletic’s Dan Duggan (subscription required), Robinson is currently occupying a first-team role in training camp practices. The other two spots, not surprisingly, have been taken up by Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney. That setup leaves a notable name in Darius Slayton relegated to backup work.

The veteran found himself in trade talks once again this offseason, one marked by the plethora of cost-cutting moves new general manager Joe Schoen was forced to make given the team’s salary cap situation. Slated to carry a charge of nearly $2.6MM this season, he could find himself amongst the team’s roster cuts if a trade partner can’t be found.

That leaves Robinson a path to significant reps early on his career, especially considering the disappointing first seasons in the Big Apple displayed by Golladay and Toney. Veteran Sterling Shepard will return for a seventh campaign after taking a pay cut this offseason, but his latest injury concern clouds his future beyond 2022. Robinson therefore faces little competition in terms of known commodities at a position of great importance to the Giants’ desired offensive turnaround.

After posting 1,445 scrimmage yards last season, the Kentucky product demonstrated his ability to produce significant numbers. The five-foot-11 slot man presents plenty of long-term potential for New York, but his inclusion with the starters ahead of Slayton in particular points to a heavier workload to begin his career than some would have expected.

Giants Sign Round 2 WR Wan’Dale Robinson, Round 4 S Dane Belton To Wrap Draft Class

The Giants will not go into training camp with any unsigned rookies. They became the latest team to round out their draft class deals Monday, signing both second-round wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson and fourth-round safety Dane Belton.

Chosen in what became a gray area, thanks to the guarantees in the No. 37 overall pick Jalen Pitre and No. 44 choice John Metchie‘s Texans contracts earlier this offseason, Robinson represents the latest early-second-round pick to sign. Eleven second-rounders remain unsigned. This year’s No. 43 overall choice will vie for playing time in a crowded Giants wideout situation.

[RELATED: Assessing Giants’ Offseason Decisions]

Although Big Blue’s receiver setup is currently jampacked, Robinson profiles as the safest bet to stay with the team into the mid-2020s. The Giants roster Sterling Shepard, Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney and Darius Slayton. But Robinson is the only member of this intriguing wideout quintet to be brought in by the Joe SchoenBrian Daboll regime. Slayton has become a trade candidate, while Shepard restructured his deal to stay for a seventh season. The longest-tenured Giant is now set to be a 2023 free agent. Golladay underwhelmed after signing a four-year, $72MM deal in 2021, and unavailability has been Toney’s defining NFL trait thus far.

Robinson zoomed onto the second-round radar after a 104-catch, 1,334-yard, seven-touchdown 2021 season at Kentucky. The 5-foot-8 slot player had been a Wildcats contributor during his underclassman years, but 2021 brought a breakthrough. Even without the Giants’ offseason injury issues at receiver and Slayton’s potential preseason departure, Robinson should be expected to have a steady role as a rookie. Both he and Belton are now signed through 2025.

The Giants are less situated at safety, giving Belton an interesting opportunity. The team cut Logan Ryan and allowed Jabrill Peppers to sign with the Patriots this offseason, leaving some uncertainty opposite Xavier McKinney. Julian Love is tentatively expected to start alongside the former second-round pick, but Belton — a first-team All-Big Ten player last season — will have a say in that plan during camp. As a junior at Iowa, Belton intercepted five passes in 2021. That tally tied for the second-most in the conference last season.

Here is how the Giants’ draft class looks ahead of camp:

Round 1: No. 5 Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE (Oregon) (signed)
Round 1: No. 7 (from Bears) Evan Neal, OT (Alabama) (signed)
Round 2: No. 43 (from Falcons) Wan’Dale Robinson, WR (Kentucky) (signed)
Round 3: No. 67 Joshua Ezeudu, G (North Carolina) (signed)
Round 3: No. 81 (from Dolphins) Cor’Dale Flott, CB (LSU) (signed)
Round 4: No. 112 (from Bears) Daniel Bellinger, TE (San Diego State) (signed)
Round 4: No. 114 (from Falcons) Dane Belton, S (Iowa) (signed)
Round 5: No. 146 (from Jets) Micah McFadden, LB (Indiana) (signed)
Round 5: No. 147 D.J. Davidson, DT (Arizona State) (signed)
Round 5: No. 173 (from Chiefs through Ravens) Marcus McKethan, OG (North Carolina) (signed)
Round 6: No. 182 Darrian Beavers, LB (Cincinnati) (signed)