Amik Robertson

Raiders rookie Amik Robertson grateful Jon Gruden sees his potential

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Raiders rookie Amik Robertson grateful Jon Gruden sees his potential

It didn’t seem possible that the chip on Amik Robertson’s shoulder could grow any larger. But then NFL draft weekend arrived in April and every doubt about the 5-foot-8-inch, 188-pound Louisiana Tech cornerback gained new life.

Hence, the flood of tears that overcame Robertson when coach Jon Gruden called to tell him the Raiders were selecting him in the fourth round with the 139th pick in the draft.

Gruden said a lot on the draft-day phone call, but all Robertson heard was that Gruden didn’t care how tall Robertson was or how much he weighed. He just believed Robertson could help his team win, and that he was giving him a chance to do exactly that.

“That’s all I’ve ever wanted,” Robertson said.

But up until that point in the draft, all Robertson heard was what he considered the same old nonsense he’s heard for years.

READ ABOUT ROBERTSON AT REVIEW-JOURNAL

 

Eli Apple, Panthers agree to deal after Raiders pact scrapped in April

Eli Apple, Panthers agree to deal after Raiders pact scrapped in April

Eli Apple never finalized a contract with the Raiders, and the free-agent cornerback has agreed to join their scheduled Week 1 opponents.

Apple reached an agreement on a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, the team announced.

The Raiders are set to play the Panthers in Charlotte on Sept. 13, and the Silver and Black could line up against the man the front office initially pegged to have a shot to start opposite Trayvon Mullen. A league source confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area's Scott Bair on March 18 that Apple and the Raiders agreed to terms on a deal.

[RELATED: Where Carr ranks among NFL starting quarterbacks]

But Apple never put pen to paper, and the deal officially fell apart on April 2 due in part to an inability to get a physical. The Raiders quickly changed course to bolster their secondary, adding Damarious Randall that same day and selecting defensive backs Damon Arnette (first round, No. 19 overall) and Amik Robertson (fourth round, No. 129 overall) in the draft a few weeks later. They also officially signed veteran corner Prince Amukamara on May 18.

Will the Raiders regret not bringing Apple in? It will be too early to tell after Week 1, but the Silver and Black will have all the more reason to want to take a bite out of the Panthers with Apple on the roster.

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]
 

Why Jon Gruden compares Raiders rookie Amik Robertson to Ronde Barber

Why Jon Gruden compares Raiders rookie Amik Robertson to Ronde Barber

The Raiders took Amik Robertson with their final pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. It took until the fourth round -- pick No. 139 overall -- for the Louisiana Tech cornerback to hear his name called, but Jon Gruden was locked in on him for a long time.

"I hate to come out and say he’s my favorite guy, but selfishly, deep down, somewhere inside of me, I wanted that guy bad," Gruden said to the Mercury News' Jerry McDonald. "I just love what he’s about." 

Gruden became so infatuated with watching Robertson that he even compared him to a star corner he coached for seven seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

"He’s got a lot of Ronde Barber traits," Gruden said. "He’s a different dude on game day. He’s not little, he’s just short. He’s just not tall. He’s a powerful guy, he’s got great quickness, he’s got incredible recognition and he’s a good tackler."

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Barber, listed at 5-foot-10 and 187 pounds, was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time First Team All-Pro. Robertson comes in even smaller than Barber at 5-foot-8 and 187 pounds. But he proved time and time again in college that he could bully bigger receivers.

[RELATED: Gruden defends Raiders drafting CB Arnette in first round]

Despite his short stature, Robertson had 14 interceptions and 34 passes defensed at LA Tech. He also is a fearless tackler and has a bit of Tyrann Mathieu in his game. Robertson recorded four sacks and 23 tackles for loss in college. 

The Raiders wanted to add toughness to their defense in the draft, and they did just that with Robertson. He's a Gruden Grinder in every sense of the word.