Height: 5'9" Weight: 195 lbs
College: Michigan State
Drafted: Sixth round, 180th overall by the San Francisco 49ers (2012)
The Washington Redskins' secondary has been somewhere between mediocre and hilariously bad in recent years, which is how generally unheralded players like safety Trenton Robinson have earned the opportunity to play meaningful snaps. Robinson took advantage of that last season, enjoying a career year in which he played 15 games and recorded his first interception.
#1. Robinson was exceptional at Michigan State, earning All-Big Ten honors (first team by the media, honorable mention by the coaches) in 2011. He racked up 229 tackles, 21 pass breakups and nine interceptions in four years in East Lansing. As a senior in 2011, Robinson was named team captain, a responsibility he shared with quarterback Kirk Cousins.
#2. At just 5'9", he is playing in the wrong era. In the NFL of the '90s, or even of the early 2000s, teams would have had no problem finding room for a defensive back who can run a sub-4.5 40-yard dash and make plays on the ball. But this is the Richard Sherman era, and the ideal defensive back now tops the six-foot mark. Shorter DBs face a tougher road to make it in the NFL, as they must be hidden against the Calvin Johnsons and the Jimmy Grahams of the league.
Robinson is the shortest safety on the Redskins roster, standing a full inch shorter than any of his peers, and he's also the only one who hovers below the 200-pound mark. This does not bode well for his chances of making the active roster, though size isn't the only thing that matters; if he can play, the team will find a place for him. But with newcomers Dashon Goldson and Jeron Johnson both locks to make the team, and Duke Ihenacho a safe bet to make the team if healthy, Robinson could be competing with four other safeties for one spot.
#3. Injuries have played an important role in Robinson's football career thus far, and they will likely have a key part in determining whether or not he's on the Redskins roster this year. He's sustained a few, primarily ankle injuries of varying degrees, but injuries to those in front of him on the depth chart were what ultimately got him this far. Sure, the poor play of healthy starters was another reason, but Ihenacho missed 13 games last season and Brandon Meriweather missed six.
That's not to say Robinson is hoping for an injury to befall any of his teammates, of course. But if the entire safety group remains healthy through training camp and preseason, it's tough to see him making the final cut.
#4. Injuries and other unpredictable factors aside, Robinson's best shot at earning a place on the final 53 is on special teams. He had an impact on the coverage units last season, and it's one area that his smaller frame won't hinder him. According to sportingcharts.com, Robinson led the Redskins last season in special teams snaps with 287, more than double the number of snaps he played on defense.
His willingness to play special teams is also admirable, as he described in a 2013 interview with The Washington Post.
"Special teams is huge part of the game. A lot of teams lose football — most games come down to some special teams play, whether it's field goal, kickoff, somebody returning a return. It's a huge part of the game."
#5. Nature Boy T-Rob climbs mountains n shit.
Bottom Line: Robinson wasn't expected to make the final roster last year, but thanks to injuries, suspensions and sub-par play, he made the cut by default; it was the same reason Bacarri Rambo and Akeem Davis also had spots on the final 53. Robinson and Davis each have a shot to make it again this year, but the competition should be much stiffer and the fourth safety spot (and potentially fifth, if the Redskins opt to go with five safeties) will likely come down to special teams play and health.