Sakamoto: 49ers’ Draft CB Rashard Robinson, Puts CB Keith Reaser On Notice


As we hit the home-stretch on the 2016 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers had eight draft picks including four compensatory picks. Compensatory picks which provide zero trade value as comp picks can’t be traded until 2017, the 49ers had no choice but to make a selection starting in the fourth-round (No. 133). Welcome, troubled CB Rashard Robinson (LSU).

Why are we not surprised? This is 49ers GM Trent Baalke. The same man who received rave reviews from me on Day 1, is now getting hammered for this selection. For one, Robinson has a myriad of red flags. The naughty list runs deep. From being kicked off the LSU football stemming from an arrest in June to having questionable work ethic, this pick is a head scratcher at best.

“I’m not sure he’s a bad kid, but I know he hates school. He’s really tough — ­typical south Florida kid. You know what you get,” said one former SEC defensive backs coach. I had the opportunity to catch up with Robinson just minutes after being named the newest member of the 49ers. He vows he’s a changed man.

“I had things come up in the past. But you know I have learned from my mistakes in the past. Just trying to become better as a man and person as a whole.”

Robinson said he met with the 49ers extensively throughout the draft process. “I met with them at the combine at Indy and actually, I met with one of the members [Chaplain Earl Smith] of the organization. We sat down and had lunch down in South Florida, just had a great conversation.”

While I can’t deny Robinson’s potential, I strongly believe that RB Kenneth Dixon (Louisiana Tech) or RB Devontae Booker (Utah) would have been a better value. The 49ers need an insurance policy for RB Carlos Hyde and any one of those two players would have been a nice complementary back in HC Chip Kelly’s zone-blocking scheme.

However, Baalke felt differently. He let his board talk, and the board was screaming for him to take yet another cornerback with red flags.

The pick doesn’t make sense on so many levels. From a depth standpoint it’s suicide. Four cornerbacks already on the team will make the 53-man roster. Those players include CB Tramaine Brock, CB Dontae Johnson, CB Kenneth Acker, and third-round pick (No. 68) CB Will Redmond. 

That leaves one cornerback roster spot up for grabs, as the team only keeps five.

Redmond (who was picked to end Day 2) is coming off a torn right ACL and it’s unsure if he will start the season. “Once again we are very confident in the procedure that was done. Where he’s currently at in his rehab schedule. We’re very confident he will be ready for training camp and ready to go,” Baalke said.

But can we really trust Baalke? If Redmond is unable to go, he will be moved to the NFI (Non-Football Injury) list, opening up two roster spots in return. If that’s the case, this selection makes sense because now both CB Keith Reaser and Robinson have spots on the team. A scenario that Reaser is betting on.

However, if Redmond is indeed healthy, you can kiss Reaser goodbye. A camp battle that will likely go to the end, I believe Baalke goes with the higher upside prospect, as Robinson wins out.

At 6-1, 171, Robinson has the skill set to be a physical press cover corner in the NFL. He has the hip flexors and agility to play outside. The talent is there. Whether or not Robinson can live up to the hype is a different story. In 20 games at LSU, Robinson amassed 33 tackles, one interception, and 4 pass break-ups.

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.