It all started on draft day, 2010. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was at Festival Internationale de Louisiane, which is one of my favorite events of the year. (I live in Lafayette, LA. If you haven't had the chance to attend this event, you have to come. I don't care what age you are, I promise you will have a great time. And ummm, the music is FREE. Trust me, you'll spend your money elsewhere on the art, crafts, jewelry, etc in the booths, but enough about that...) I had NFL Mobile on my phone and watched bits and pieces of the draft as I enjoyed the music and booze. The Saints pick was coming and I really wanted to add someone for the front 7. There were 5 guys I was hoping for and only 2 of them were gone (Sean Weatherspoon and Jerry Hughes). But there stood three options that I would've loved to have: Daryl Washington, Lamarr Houston, and Sergio Kindle. Thank goodness we didn't take Kindle.
But then it came up. Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State.
First reaction was that I wanted to throw my phone. There were 3 excellent athletes to choose from to add to a front 7 that needed just that. And we grabbed another CB.
As expected, he didn't play a ton in 2010, and he didn't impress anyone either. Well, he didn't impress me at least. OK, the guy flat out failed the 1st impression part of his career as a Saint in my book.
But he showed some improvement in 2011. 4 INTs and 15 pass deflections are pretty decent numbers for a 2nd year CB. Yes, he had his moments of getting torched, but doesn't every CB?
And then we get to 2012. That defense was absolute garbage overall, and I think that no one would ever deny that. I don't care what way you look at it, but when the front 7 isn't getting it done, the secondary has very little chance to be successful. When you can say that only TWO guys on defense had good individual seasons (Jordan and Lofton), things will be bad statistically.
So did PRob give up some big pass plays and TDs? Yes. But what Saint didn't? Here's a question, and think about this a bit. WHO WAS THE BEST CB ON THE SAINTS ROSTER IN 2012? (stats courtesy of this site below)
Starting off basic, PRob was tied for 5th in pass deflections in 2012. 3 of the 4 guys ahead of him had 6 or more INTs in 2012. He had more deflections than Tillman and Patrick Peterson. Either PRob was thrown at a lot, or he does a pretty good job of getting his hand on the ball.
The stat of +WPA is explained on the site, but I'll slap it here to save you the time:
Positive Win Probability Added (+WPA) – The Win Probability Added attributed to a defensive player, limited to only the plays that are net positives for his team. It is a measure of a defender’s impact on the outcome of games in terms of play-making ability. Only positive plays are considered for individual defenders because very good individual plays can still result in net losses in WPA. For example, a safety who makes a shoe-string tackle to stop a TD would be a great individual play, but the play as a whole would still be a net negative outcome for his team. However, overall individual WPA likely correlates well with +WPA.
So let's say that PRob is 14th among CBs in +WPA. Would that say that he might not actually be trash? (Greer was 37th by the way) By what I read here, it seems that PRob has actually contributed well on defense in a larger sample size, so is it possible that the plays where he gets torched stick out way more than when he makes a play or two?
I have NOT been a fan of PRob since day one, but I actually think considering the mess that was our defense last year, PRob wasn't actually our biggest PRoblem. He will be 26 years old going into his 4th season. Is there really no chance that he will improve even further in a better situation, considering he improved last year during what was more than a terrible situation?
I want to give him one more season. It will be tough to find a starting CB (or possibly even a nickel) better than him at his value. He's only due around $2.3 mil this season. The depth at this position is weak as is, so PRob staying is almost necessary. We can not afford decent CBs in free agency, we more than likely won't draft a corner until the 3rd round or later (which in the past doesn't exactly produce top notch CBs) , and our percieved #1 CB is almost 6 years older making twice as much money and currently producing less than PRob is.
Face it. You may not be a fan of the guy. I never was. And believe it or not, I'm still not sold on him. But in an offseason where we keep talking about "risks in the draft" like Honey Badger, we should take the same risk in riding out PRob to see if he progresses at his young age.
So for all of you who want to see PRob go, what will your Saints secondary look like in 2013?