First Step Explosiveness
First Step Explosiveness
Robinson has plenty of natural juice in his frame, but his efficiency getting out of the blocks and his initial stem as a rusher is going to need development in order to effectively stress tackles with consistency. He has sustained this athleticism despite bulking weight well.
Dominique Robinson projects as a developmental pass rusher at the NFL level. Robinson offers very good short-area quickness and agility for a rusher—which is in part to be expected by a player who was recruited as a dual-threat quarterback and spent his first few seasons on the Miami Redhawks roster as a tight end before transitioning to play defensive end. Robinson logged some 33 games and 13 starts at receiver between 2017, 2018, and 2019 before playing in three games on defense amid Miami-Ohio’s abbreviated COVID-19 season in 2020. Since then, Robinson has shown a significant level of agility and raw athleticism but has yet to really package his skill set together effectively and efficiently to create consistent chaos on that side of the football. He’s been a rotational player at times who flashes on 3rd-and-long situations as a speed rusher off the edge—and with bright flashes, there appears to be a skill set here worth gambling on late in the draft.
Ideal role: Developmental base 3-4 rush linebacker
Scheme tendencies: Gap penetration defense
Written by Kyle Crabbs
Games watched: Ball State (2020), Cincinnati (2021), Minnesota (2021), Central Michigan (2021), Ohio (2021)
Best Game Studied: Central Michigan (2021)
Worst Game Studied: Minnesota (2021)
First Step Explosiveness: See Above.
Flexibility: I can’t say with confidence whether his cornering skills are limited because he’s tightly wound or because he’s not apt at executing yet. I certainly think he’s got the ability to really improve with attacking small creases and sustaining speed through turns; he bails too quickly and doesn’t appear to trust his ability to flatten and turn the corner.
Hand Counters: This is an understandable work in progress, but you do see some bright flashes here—which is what you cling to in order to stay optimistic. Robinson beat Bernhard Raimann on one outside rush with a cross chop and successfully turned the corner vs. CMU this season, but consider him a ground-level player in this regard who needs to be built up.
Length: It appears as though Robinson has plenty of natural length at his disposal and if you can steadily work him into stacking blocks and understanding value of sustaining a clear chest, you’ll boost his efficiency rushing the passer.
Hand Power: One of Robinson’s more underdeveloped traits is his functional power in all abilities. He’s been able to stack some significant weight onto his frame but he’s still built lean and needs more power and mass in order to successfully win at the line of scrimmage.
Run Defending: Robinson was featured predominantly as a designated pass rusher on a number of the possessions I studied of the Miami-Ohio defense and his instincts to key and diagnose blocks before subsequently deconstructing them has not been developed to a degree in which you should feel confident playing him early in his career on the early downs.
Effort (Motor): Robinson gives very good effort. You can easily appreciate the motor and willingness to fight through traffic to try to find the football. He’s parlayed through twists and stunts up front and continued working to grass and has been rewarded with extended plays with the QB rolling into his lap. He frequently makes opposing QBs feel his presence if he’s close upon release.
Football IQ: He’s understandably raw and should be afforded plenty of time and patience for any team that invests in him. I don’t necessarily think he’s going to command an active roster spot in 2022; he’s got a lot of needed growth on defense so he will need to impress coaches with his special teams acumen as a rookie.
Lateral Mobility: His reactive quickness appears to meet desired levels, but his designed gap exchanges and twists up front are a bit forced and telegraph his intentions to drive inside. He’s better when unoccupied and trying to flash and get width in the quick game as a rally defender. I need to see more explosive drive on his inside charges in order to feel as though he can slash across the face of blockers effectively.
Versatility: There aren’t too many pass-rush prospects who were wide receivers as recently as 2019—one would have to think that could set the table for some special teams opportunities at the next level. He’s a better athlete than his instincts on defense allow him to play at times. I think he’s a capable player who, with time and development, could serve in an OLB role and drop into shallow zones.
TDN Consensus: 72.33/100 (Fourth Round Value)
Crabbs Grade: 70.50/100
Marino Grade: 70.00/100
Weissman Grade: 76.50/100