Does the name Donovan Woods ring a bell? He was the last undrafted free agent linebacker to make the Pittsburgh Steelers 53 man roster out of training camp back in 2008. Trying to equal that feat this year is outside linebacker Adrian Robinson out of Temple.
The 6 foot 1, 250 pound Robinson jumped out on tape last Thursday night in the Steelers first preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles by unofficially registering 5 quarterback pressures, 2 quarterback hits and 1 assisted tackle in his 24 fourth quarter snaps at the left outside linebacker position.
Although a bit unorthodox a few times out of a four-point stance, Robinson gave the right side of the Eagles offensive line fits and specifically right tackle Thomas Welch, who has had cups of coffee with three different NFL teams since being drafted by the New England Patriots in the seventh round of the 2010 draft.
Robinson\’s name should not be new to any readers of this site as I have posted about him quite a bit and David Todd and I have talked about him frequently on the podcast.
In 50 games for the Owls, the former defensive end registered 20 solo sacks and 5 assisted sacks. He also recorded 92 solo tackles, 64 assisted tackles and 30 tackles for loss to go along with 8 forced fumbles, 4 pass breakups and 3 blocked kicks during his collegiate career. The Harrisburg High School product also wrestled while in high school, where he posted a 33-3 record as a senior.
While Robinson has quite a ways to go in regard to learning the 3-4 outside linebacker position, technique and playing the position without his hands in the dirt, the thing that stuck out most about him against the Eagles Thursday night was his motor. Robinson was relentless and that is exactly what Temple head coach Steve Addazio said about him late last season.
“Adrian plays relentless,” said Addazio late last season via the Temple website. “He flushes the quarterback out of the pocket and chases him around like a crazy man.”
Robinson did not receive an invitation to the NFL combine, but at his pro day he ran an unofficial 40 time of 4.71 and put up 225 pounds on the bench 25 times. He also posted a vertical jump 32 1/2 inches and a 9\’11″ broad jump. Those numbers equate to a respectable explosive number of 67.5, which was better than that of both Shea McClellin and LaVonte David. Robinson\’s agility number came in at .38, which also was better than that of McClellin and just .05 less than that of David.
While the game against the Eagles was the first time many of us got a chance to see Robinson in the black and gold, the Steelers coaches have seen him all offseason and he was the only 2012 undrafted linebacker that coach Keith Butler spoke specifically about as catching his eye after the OTA practices ended.
While Robinson saw all of his snaps against the Eagles on the left side, it will be interesting to see if he gets to show what he can do on the right side, his more natural side, Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts. It will also be interesting to see if he moves up in the rotation. Against the Eagles it was Mortty Ivy that replaced starter Chris Carter on the right side, while both Brandon Johnson and Stevenson Sylvester saw snaps on the left side prior to Robinson after LaMarr Woodley was finished after the Steelers first defensive series.
With the health status of outside linebackers James Harrison and Jason Worilds both currently up in the air right now, Robinson still has a legitimate shot at making the Steelers 53 man roster. While he certainly shows long-term potential as an outside linebacker in the Steelers 3-4 defense, his play on special teams is where he will have to make himself worthy of keeping to start the season. That is exactly how Woods made the roster back in 2008, so at least Robinson knows the path that he will have to take. A path he most surely will be relentlessly trying to stay on course of.