Tuesday, March 09, 2010

One Quick Thought on Dunta Robinson

If Dunta Robinson is truly s shut-down, #1 corner, then this is a terrific move by the Falcons. The team has glaring needs at corner and defensive end. With corner taken care of, they can draft the best available defensive end next month (hint: Brandon Graham!) and then spend the rest of the Draft focusing on bringing in quality depth for the roster. I'm not ready to predict a Lombardi Trophy in the next three years (and Bradley is the guy who quite rightly pointed out last fall that we might have Eli Manning instead of Peyton under center), but signing the best available player at a position of need is never a bad thing. Normally, I would worry about the salary cap effects, but lo and behold, there are none!

And now for the empty part of the glass: I started the last paragraph with an "if" because I'm not sure that Robinson really is a shutdown corner. Using Football Outsiders' DVOA metric, here are the Texans' rankings over the past three years against #1 receivers:

2009 - 19th
2008 - 22nd
2007 - 30th
2006 - 23rd
2005 - 31st
2004 - 5th

(Note: Robinson was hurt for a chunk of the '07 and '08 seasons.)

I can't say that I've ever watched a Texans game from start to finish, so I can't say that my eyes can confirm or deny the numbers. Maybe the Texans have no pass rush and that failing hung Robinson out to dry. Maybe the Texans don't line him up against their opponents' #1 receivers on every play. Thomas Dimitroff does have a good reputation for scouting defensive backs and I doubt that he made this move without watching a ludicrous amount of film. Dimitroff doesn't seem like the sort of GM who would make a move based on reputation. All that said, the numbers are what they are and they show that the Texans were below average against opponents' #1 receivers every year after Robinson's rookie season. Does that sound like a team that had a shut-down corner on the roster?

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