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2020 NFL draft: Introducing Amik Robertson, LA Tech’s takeaway king

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NCAA Football: Louisiana Tech at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Every NFL team is looking for physical corners with the competitiveness and mentality to handle the league’s top pass-catchers, along with the athleticism and ball skills to make game-changing plays.

Louisiana Tech’s Amik Robertson checks every box, and should hear his name called on NFL draft weekend sooner rather than later.

Robertson recently spoke exclusively with MCM about his virtual meetings (including several meetings with the Titans), how he answers the undersized questions and what kind of player he’ll be at the next level.

JM: You weren’t highly recruited coming out of high school but it really ended up being a blessing in disguise for you. It gave you an opportunity to stay close to home and play in front of friends and family. How do you look back on your time at LA Tech?

AR: It was a great experience. Committing to LA Tech was the best decision I’ve ever made for myself. They took me in and helped me grow as a person. There are so many amazing people within the program. We really had a brotherhood up there. The coaching staff is excellent. They had very high expectations for us. They helped mold me into the young man that I am today. I’m very thankful for everything they did for me. That was the best decision I ever made.

JM: It really worked out for you. You leave LA Tech with 14 career interceptions and 34 career pass break-ups. Those numbers are outstanding. What is it about your game that allowed you to be around the ball so often?

AR: I always wanna be around the football. I’m a highly instinctive player. I’m also a very hard worker. When you put all of those things together, you end up with a play-maker. That’s just who I am. I play the game with a ton of passion. You can’t match my work ethic. It just all comes together when I hit that field. That’s how I separate myself. I work harder than anybody else.

JM: It really shows. What can you tell me about the scheme that you guys ran on defense and what your coaches asked of you?

AR: I played in several defenses throughout my time at LA Tech. We ran a lot of quarters during my third season. We ran a 4-3 defense during my freshmen and sophomore years. It gave me an opportunity to play in so many different schemes. It’s all about how you adjust. The more knowledge you’re able to accumulate about the game, the more versatile you become. It was honestly a great experience. I enjoyed playing in all of those defenses.

It gave me a chance to play in so many different coverages. If you watch the film throughout my entire career, you’ll see that I’ve pretty much seen it all. I was able to adapt and I continued to make big plays on the ball regardless of what coverage we played.

JM: What did you guys predominantly run this past season?

AR: I played on the boundary and we played a lot of man coverage. We probably played man coverage about 70% of the time. We mixed in some quarters, Cover-2 and Cover-3. I’ve always played a lot of man coverage though. I was isolated on the boundary one-on-one.

JM: Do the majority of teams you’ve spoken with see you playing on the outside or in the slot at the next level? Have you received any consistent feedback regarding that?

AR: They just see me as a football player at the end of the day. I’ve heard it all. Some teams see me as a safety, some teams see me as a nickel and some teams see me playing on the boundary. I understand that I’m undersized. There are a lot of guys in the league that play at 5-foot-9, 5-foot-10 or whatever. It’s about the size of your heart and how you play the game. You have guys in the league that are 6-foot-2 and don’t play big at all. They see me as a hybrid defender at the next level. I can roam the secondary and make plays all over the field. I’m gonna do whatever they need me to do. I can adjust to anything.

JM: You said that you understand you’re undersized. Has that term been brought up throughout your team meetings?

AR: My size hasn’t really come up. Everybody knows I’m on the smaller side for a cornerback. It’s not a secret. You have a lot of big cornerbacks in the NFL. It’s all about how I play the game though. You can cut on my film and watch me play at 5-foot-9. Cut the film on and you’ll see that I play way bigger than that. Most teams wanted to discuss how I play on film. They weren’t really bringing up my size.

JM: You can cut the film on and watch you battle against guys that are much bigger than you. There’s that one rep that circulated on Twitter of you covering a tight end on Texas that’s much bigger than you are. You’re so physical. Which of your match-ups come to mind?

AR: I can recall so many of my match-ups. I had so many good ones. It’s just the competitive nature of this game. I’ve played against some fantastic athletes and players. It’s all about competing. When we played against Texas, I looked at it as a challenge and a great opportunity for me to prove myself and put some good stuff on tape. They had a lot of big, talented receivers. It was a chance for me to show that I could play against anybody.

JM: Do you approach those bigger receivers any differently than you do the smaller, shiftier ones?

AR: Yeah, I do. I’m quicker than those bigger guys. I’m more agile than they are. I can jam them up quickly at the line of scrimmage. I don’t have an issue mirroring their routes. I’m quicker than they are. You wanna slow those faster guys down. I can run with them, I can mirror their routes. I might pick an angle with those guys. You have to know where your help is when you’re playing against those smaller, quicker guys.

JM: That makes a lot of sense. What’s your favorite part about playing the cornerback position?

AR: I just love to compete. You have to be the ultimate competitor to play this position at a high level. You have to be a dog. You have to have some swagger about you. My favorite part of the game is creating turnovers. Who doesn’t love to make an interception? Getting the ball back for your offense is the ultimate game-changing play. I love being in a position to make plays. Pick 6’s are great as well. I know that I had a lot of PBU’s, but I don’t get excited about PBU’s. That’s the God honest truth. I want interceptions. Every PBU was an opportunity to make an interception. I wanna see my name in the newspaper. You don’t get your name in the paper because you made a PBU. Interceptions change the game, PBU’s don’t. I want interceptions.

JM: That’s one of my all-time favorite answers. I thought you had a great combine. What do you think is the overall impression you left out there?

AR: I think they realized the type of person and leader that I am. I was able to change the culture at LA Tech. I gave guys hope. I was the alpha dog in the locker room. I set the example for everybody, from the older guys to the young guys who were up next. I changed the culture. I always had the right attitude out there. It didn’t matter how big or small I was. I approached every game, every rep with the same focused mentality. It’s about the size of your heart. Not only did I motivate everybody at LA Tech, but I believe that I motivated every undersized player in the country that’s being overlooked. At the end of the day, I wanted to be a positive example.

JM: I absolutely love that answer. Were you able to get any private visits or workouts in before the spread of COVID-19 pulled everybody off the road?

AR: I was able to make a visit to Philadelphia before the spread of the virus shut everything down. I made it to Philly for an in-person visit with the Eagles. I believe I was the second player they hosted on a private visit. I had several other visits and private workouts lined up that were unfortunately canceled. I had a visit with the Saints that never happened. I’ve spoken with their cornerback coach as well. A lot of teams were planning to come meet with me in Louisiana prior to my Pro Day. The New England Patriots were one of them. Of course the Pro Day was canceled and that’s when we started moving things to the phones.

I’ve met with upwards of 20 NFL teams via FaceTime and Zoom since then. I met with the Jets, Raiders, Bears, Titans and Falcons just to name a few. A lot of teams have reached out to me. It’s been a fun process. I think I’ve honestly met with every team except for the Packers and the Bengals.

JM: There’s a lot of interest in you, and it’s easy to see why. I’ve really appreciated your time today, Amik. We’ve covered a lot of topics today and I really appreciate your patience. When a team uses a very early draft pick on Amik Robertson, what kind of guy are they getting?

AR: When you draft Amik Robertson, you’re getting a hard worker. I’m a guy that you can trust. I’m gonna make an instant impact. You can put me anywhere on the field and I’m gonna make my presence felt. I’m gonna stay out of trouble and be an asset to the organization. When it’s all said and done, my team will look back on me and say that they did the right thing by drafting me. They’re gonna look back and say that’s one of the best draft picks we’ve ever made. The dream was to reach the NFL of course, but it doesn’t stop there. This is just the beginning of my journey. I wanna be a guy that puts on that gold jacket one day. I wanna win multiple championships. That’s what Amik Robertson is all about.