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Beyond the Numbers: Can Jammie Robinson and Akeem Dent be FSU’s next elite safety duo?

Taking a look at what the numbers say about the Florida State Seminoles defensive backs

This article was originally published June 7, 2022

Heading into 2022 the Seminoles have their best safety duo since the 2017 season with Derwin James.

Jammie Robinson was the big name transfer that proved his all-around elite skill set in 2021, he spent the first part of the season filling a glaring need at slot cornerback.

After the emergence of Kevin Knowles in the slot, Robinson was moved to safety being able to dominate the game in the box or deep in the secondary.

After getting voted to All-ACC 1st team honors he had NFL whispers before eventually deciding in January to return for his 2022 senior season. Alongside Robinson, former 5-star cornerback Akeem Dent settled at safety for the second half of the season and put together his best stretch of football.

Jammie Robinson

Getting back to Jammie Robinson - he profiles as a stud safety with his biggest asset being his versatility to play anywhere in the defensive backfield and all-around elite play.

Robinson played over 350 snaps as a slot corner last season but the majority (67%) of those slot snaps came in the first six games of the season. In the final six games, Robinson was used more as a tandem safety duo alongside Dent.

In the slot, Robinson graded out as one of the most elite defensive backs in all of college football:

While Kevin Knowles will be occupying that slot cornerback role more in ’22, having the ability to move around your best football player to multiple positions in a pinch is invaluable. Now, with Robinson at safety more often than not, DC Adam Fuller can use him all over the field.

What made Robinson so great in that nickel role was his run fitting and slot coverage and ball skills complemented by a high football IQ. The result was him being the best safety in the conference.

For example, take a look at his ability to play the run and blow up plays against Syracuse. He is at the top of the screen at the first down marker pre play, then he comes down and sustains a block from a TE (#5) then stopping the runner at the line of scrimmage:

This is the brand of football that Robinson brings, this play shows off his ability to diagnose and read the field along with his physicality. He was truly an elite run fitter with a missed tackle rate of 6.6% (top-5 in the conference) and an 86.6 tackling grade that ranked him amongst the best in the country.

Robinson has great ball skills as well which led him to have a team high 4 interceptions with each of those picks coming in those last six games of the year. Over that time he allowed an average NFL passer rating of 67.3 which would have ranked top-10 in conference.

Robinson has elite instincts, speed, and football IQ, and against Miami last season he showcased that.

I want you to take note of where Jammie starts the play (he is then off-screen) and where he ends. He is playing center field here and makes an incredible break on the ball for an INT;

His ability to diagnose what the offense is doing and make the right play is on full display, and he just out muscles the Miami receiver.

Akeem Dent

Dent has an ideal NFL body for a safety, he’s 6’1 203 pounds and has a lot of range. Right now for PFF’s (very early) 2023 draft board Dent is a Top-100 player (No. 91 overall) and is the 7th highest ranked safety.

He was able to elevate his confidence and ability in the last 5 games of the season, playing 79% of his snaps at his true position of free safety over that stretch. In his first 4 games of the year, he played just 21% of his total free safety snaps.

During the spring, Dent spoke on gaining his confidence in that latter part of the year and how he might get down on himself and be too critical:

Dent came to Florida State as a 5-star cornerback and was moved between CB and Safety until the back half of the 2021 season.

Once he finally gained his confidence he was great alongside Robinson and in coverage he was elite.

Dent did not allow a single touchdown last season and has not given up a score since October 17th, 2020 vs UNC. His 52.6% completion percentage allowed ranked in the Top-5 for all safeties in the ACC.

Here is a great play by Dent in coverage where he ai able to get a good PBU and makes a great recovery:

He has all the skills you would want for an NFL safety - now he just needs to create more turnovers and wreak havoc from the defensive backfield.

Dent showed off his ability in coverage but also had missed opportunities where he could have forced turnovers in ‘21, but in spring practice he got the ball more than any other defensive player.

Dent is a hard hitter over the middle and he is willing to put his body on the line. In this play against Miami, he is quick to diagnose and read the play using his short area quickness...

His tackling also shows up in the run game where he can improve as a run-fitting safety but has shown flashes where he clearly has the ability to be very good:

Dent does have a higher missed tackle rate than you would like him to have but his ability to cover space and make a play is undeniable.

Both Robinson and Dent will be Sunday players in the future and now, they will get a full season starting alongside each other to make the most out of their ability.

Jammie produced turnovers last season, but I expect both to be great all-around players who will be the biggest difference makers for the Seminole defense. They are the leaders of the defensive backfield and I expect big things from both for 2022.