With Bud Dupree’s departure in free agency, the Steelers will turn to TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith as their starters at the edge rusher positions. The team needs depth and rotational players in 2021, because Watt and Highsmith won’t be able to be on the field for every snap. The Steelers have shown some interest in edge rushing prospects during the pre-draft process. Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert recently attended Florida State’s Pro Day where Janarius Robinson flashed his athleticism.
Weight: 263 lbs
Class: Redshirt Senior
Age: 22 years old
Robinson was an all-state defensive end in high school in Florida who had offers from all of the major SEC schools. He is a three-year starter who began running with the first team defense as a sophomore. At his Pro Day, Robinson’s testing numbers were through the roof athletically for a defensive lineman. Given his size, there is some uncertainty about where his best fit would be in the NFL. On a 4-3 team he is certainly a defensive end, but on a 3-4 team he could potentially play as either a 5-technique defensive end or as a stand-up outside linebacker.
Janarius Robinson is a DE prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.39 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 82 out of 1330 DE from 1987 to 2021. https://t.co/xxYGEAo0WE #RAS pic.twitter.com/999c8GSOXo
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 22, 2021
26 tackles, 7 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 pass defended
105 tackles, 8 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 3 passes defended
Robinson added bulk during his time at Florida State, and was a force coming off the edge. He came to college at about 225 pounds and weighed in at 265 during his Pro Day. Robinson was incredibly durable, appearing in every game in his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons. He started 28 games over the course of his career.
Robinson’s biggest strength is his quick, explosive burst off the line. He is able to shoot into the backfield and gives offensive tackles fits. Given his size, he has the ability to convert speed to power and bull rush his way into the backfield. He is strong at the point of attack and often flashed in goalline/short yardage defense. Robinson can shed blocks and can crash down the line quickly against runs going in the opposite direction. He has developed enough counter moves that he will continue working through blocks and has the motor to never give up on a play.
Robinson has a great wingspan but needs to work on his hand placement and hand-fighting to take full advantage of his length. His play is inconsistent and he often looks tentative in traffic as he tries to locate the ball. When he does get blocked, he does not read the play well and can get run past by a ballcarrier. When in space, he missed some tackles on quarterbacks and running backs by not breaking them down and closing the gap – he was caught flat-footed and juked out of his position. Against the run, he tends to dive down from the edge and crash the middle, which can leave his spot vulnerable to cut-backs around the edge. Additionally, he was never a super-productive player at Florida State and did not record more than 3 sacks in any season.
This is not a great EDGE rushing class, and when in doubt it is better to bet on a highly-athletic but less productive college players (like Bud Dupree) than on highly productive but less-athletic players (like Jarvis Jones). Robinson flashed more when playing on the outside than he did on the inside. He generally played as a 4-3 DE, though against Miami he was used more as a 5-tech in a 3-man front and wasn’t able to get as much inside pressure. He is at his best on the edge when he can use his burst to get around the shoulder of an offensive tackle or tight and and then his powerful base to force his way to the quarterback.
Final Grade: Late 3rd/4th
References: ESPN.com, seminoles.com