T-Rob Gets First Taste Of The NFL Experience

Former Tiger Travaris Robinson talks about his first practices as an Atlanta Falcon.

Auburn, Ala.--A role player for much of his career at Auburn after a promising freshman season at wide receiver, Travaris Robinson stepped up his game as a senior and became a leader on a defense that improved throughout the season. Earning All-SEC honors at free safety after moving from cornerback during spring practice, Robinson made a name for himself and proved that he could perform at a high level in the right system and position.

Travaris Robinson

Following the season, there was discussion that Robinson had played his way into a possible NFL draft pick, but following last weekend's selections in New York he had yet to be contacted. That's when the good news came. Instead of ending up in a situation where he had little chance to make the team, Robinson was contacted by the Atlanta Falcons, a team in need of help in the secondary. Signing as a free agent, the Miami native got the call he was waiting for from an NFL team.

"I was very excited about it," Robinson tells Inside The Auburn Tigers of hearing from the Falcons. "I felt I might get drafted in the fifth or sixth round, but that didn't happen for me. I was just really worried about getting somewhere in a camp and being able to have a chance to fulfil my dream.

"It gives me a chance to play here close to home in Auburn," Robinson adds. "That way all the fans that have grown to love me in Auburn can come to see my play in the NFL. It just gives me a great chance. I'm with a great organization and a great team who is going to get to the playoffs again and doing great things."

Travaris Robinson made 94 tackles as a senor and intercepted four passes.

His first taste of professional football came this past weekend when he joined 13 other free agents and six drafted rookies at Atlanta's first mini-camp in Flowery Branch, Ga., the site of the Falcons' football training complex. Working against receivers John Olinger, LaTarence Dunbar, Jamaal Burke, John Lewis and Georgia's Terrence Edwards, Robinson says that he had a good time easing into the defensive system and says he thinks he impressed the Falcons with his performance.

"I was working at corner because we were just doing one-on-one drills," Robinson says. "The veterans weren't there, but they told me I'll be playing safety and nickel.

"Everybody was working against everybody and we had a good time. We were very competitive. We were competitive on the field, but off the field we were real close. We were developing the kind of relationship that rookies are supposed to have."

A four-year contributor who played both offense and defense at Auburn, Robinson was the consummate team player in college. That will be especially important when trying to make a NFL club, where willingness to do anything to get on the field is very important for a rookie.

"It helps me a lot because I did a lot of different things at Auburn," Robinson says. "It helps me with things such as special teams, which I did a lot of in college. Everything I did at Auburn gives me a better chance to play and make the ball club."

While there were many leaders on last year's Auburn team, none were any better at what they did than Robinson. A very vocal player who kept his teammates in the game and in the right places, Robinson is both football smart and people smart. A role model for his younger teammates because of his perseverance and positive attitude, Robinson says he sees some similar qualities in this Falcon team to his Auburn teams in the past few seasons.

"It's pretty much the same thing, the same kind of atmosphere," Robinson notes. "It's a family atmosphere. I went up there this weekend and had a great time, we did real good in the mini-camps. It was just a chance to go out and get in the groove of things."

The next chance for Robinson to show his skills is May 19 when the Falcons hold a passing camp. That will be the first time for the rookies to work side-by-side and against the veterans. One of those players Robinson has to account for will be Michael Vick, a quarterback with a combination of speed and throwing skills never before seen on an NFL field. Just like he always did while on the Plains, Robinson says he'll meet every challenge head on.

"I've been watching him play for a while," Robinson notes. "I've always wanted to put my skills up against theirs and see how I hold up. I think I can. I'm going to go out there with a great deal of confidence and eager to learn the system and how to play the game in the NFL."

While Robinson made a big splash his first weekend, former teammate Robert Johnson failed his physical with the Falcons and was released by the club. Teams such as the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers have expressed interest in the big tight end, Robinson notes. "I hope he gets a chance to show what he can do because he's going to make somebody a good player," Robinson says. "No doubt about it."

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