The 2020 NFL Draft is quickly approaching. Soon enough, we will be gathered around our television or laptop watching each team add prospects to its roster. With the Cowboys, there is some uncertainty on which direction Dallas will go.
Many are wanting the Cowboys to add a safety during the draft. Xavier Woods is a rising player, while Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is a cheap veteran add that is on a one-year deal. Adding a safety during the draft would be a smart move.
LSU’s Grant Delpit and Alabama’s Xavier McKinney are the two names at the position that have been commonly connected to the Cowboys, though there is some doubt that the Cowboys will spend a first-round selection on either, and that either one would be available at pick 51. Minnesota’s Antoine Winfield Jr. and California’s Ashtyn Davis are two others at the position that have gotten a lot of love.
The Draft Network’s Jordan Reid has reported that the Cowboys have met with one of the more interesting prospects at the position in this year’s draft class: Kenny Robinson. Robinson, a former West Virginia safety, played for the St. Louis Battlehawks in 2020 and has received some draft hype.
Former West Virginia and St. Louis Battlehawks safety, Kenny Robinson, the only draft-eligible player from the XFL, has been a very hot name among teams. He’s had FaceTime meetings with the #Cowboys, #Bears, #Vikings, #Jaguars, and #Dolphins among others, per source.— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) April 18, 2020
While Delpit, McKinney, Winfield Jr., and Davis will all likely be gone before the Cowboys come onto the clock in round two, the team could target Robinson a little bit later and spend premium picks on other positions.
One thing that the Cowboys have emphasized since Mike McCarthy was hired in January is creating turnovers. Clinton-Dix is a player that has shown the ability to do just that with his 16 career interceptions, including two (and one pick-six) a season ago.
Robinson is a player that has shown to have a real knack for the ball as well. Reid notes that the former West Virginia and XFL safety could see his stock rise a little bit because of the “lack of true centerfield safeties in this draft class”.
Robinson could hear his name called as early as the 3rd or 4th-round. With a lack of true centerfield safeties in this draft class, he’s received a lot of interest.— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) April 18, 2020
On the collegiate level, Robinson was a ballhawk for the Mountaineers. The former three-star prospect out of Pittsburgh recorded three interceptions — two were brought back for touchdowns — during his freshman season in 2017 before grabbing four more — including one on eventual Heisman Trophy winner and first overall pick Kyler Murray — as a sophomore in 2018. Below is Robinson’s intercepting one of Murray’s seven picks that season.
Former WV and XFLer FS Kenny Robinson would be an interesting mid-late round option. Here he is picking off Kyler Murray in 2018. pic.twitter.com/ky6k9PT4Y6— BrianCatNFL (@BrianCatNFL) April 11, 2020
He was named an All-Big 12 performer following his sophomore season. The former West Virginia safety left the college game because of his academic standing. Robinson’s ball skills carried over from the collegiate level to the XFL, as he grabbed two interceptions in the shortened XFL season.
Dane Brugler gave Robinson a fourth-round grade in his 2020 draft guide, writing that “he is an aggressive ballhawk with athletic range”. That is definitely something that sounds very attractive.
Overall, Robinson’s play recognition and run support skills show room for improvement, but he is an aggressive ballhawk with athletic range and should be the first XFL player to be drafted in the NFL Draft.
Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said back in January that he is looking for his defense to create more turnovers in 2020.
“It does starts with the player,” Nolan said. “There are players who have a knack of getting the ball and some that don’t. But at the same time, I think a coach’s job is to work on that. That’s the No. 1 thing in winning football games, getting the ball for your offense, and as a defense that’s what we’ll strive to do all the time.”
Robinson would seem like a player that may help in that regard, if the Cowboys are looking to add a safety in the middle rounds of the draft. While there is some risk that comes with Robinson, he would be a ballhawking safety that could add a much-needed dimension to the defense.