NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans general manager Jon Robinson spent 12 seasons with the New England Patriots, and head coach Bill Belichick.
He made quite an impression.
"Jon is smart, works hard, and is team oriented. He showed a strong commitment to finding the players and specific types of players we needed, digging out information on their individual personal characteristics, and understanding the projection of how each player would contribute and fit into our program,'' Belichick said of Robinson. "He did many 'extras' that went beyond the normal duties in his job. Jon patiently worked his way up through the Patriots organization and was unselfish in his team-first attitude to do whatever he could to help us win.
"Jon educated me on the changes in the landscape of scouting and we made adjustments in our process as a result of his perceptive comments."
Robinson, set to make his first trip to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis as general manager, joined the Titans after spending the past two seasons as director of player personnel with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Prior to that, Robinson worked as New England's director of college scouting (2009-13) after serving as a regional scout and an area scout for the Patriots.
Belichick spoke highly of Robinson when approached by Titans Online while watching Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala., but at the time said he'd prefer to provide answers to submitted questions about him later via email. Belichick promptly responded through a team spokesman when asked about Robinson's impact on organization, and his strengths.
Belichick, who has coached the Patriots to four Super Bowl titles, said he believes Robinson will do well in Tennessee.
"I always respected Jon's opinion and knew that the information he acquired was accurate,'' Belichick said. "Although I was responsible for the final decision, I relied on Jon (and many others) for their information and input to make those decisions. Jon did an outstanding job in helping me and Nick Caserio (Director of Player Personnel) in this process. Jon also did a great job of training our younger scouts — this accelerated their contributions to the process.
"Jon Robinson is an asset to any football program."
Robinson said he talked with Belichick about prospects throughout the year. Belichick wanted to be kept up to date with the depth of draft, and players "who I felt could help the team,'' Robinson said.
"I had a ton of interaction with him,'' Robinson said of Belichick. "You have to earn his trust, you have to earn his respect, which I think that's how it should be. And my voice, the longer I was there, the more it was heard. Once he felt comfortable and trusted me, we had more discussions."
While Robinson was with the Patriots, the team drafted players like receiver Julian Edelman, tight end Rob Gronkowski, defensive back Devin McCourty, tackle Nate Solder and defensive end Chandler Jones, among others. During Robinson's time with the Patriots, the organization won 10 division titles, four conference titles and two Super Bowls.
Titans head coach Mike Mularkey and GM Jon Robinson introduced to reporters at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Donn Jones Photography)
Robinson said his experience in New England taught him a lot about building a successful team, something he hopes to do with the Titans. The Titans have the first overall pick in the NFL Draft following a 3-13 season, and are scheduled to make eight picks in all.
"He was very influential to me with overall roster building and looking at team building,'' Robinson said of Belichick. "The most important thing is getting the player right. What does he bring to our football team, based upon whatever position he played? And then combining that with his character and makeup as a player to complete the profile of the player. And then adding those players at various levels of the draft.
"Just trying to strategically maximize the value of the pick and getting yourself in a position to acquire the players who can help the team, that's the key."