NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Texas LB Keenan Robinson
|03.28.12 at 2:16 pm ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2012 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.
Position: Inside linebacker
Weight: 242 pounds
Achievements: Coaches All-Big XII second team (2011), AP All-Big XII second team (2010), Butkus Award semifinalist (2010, 2011), 2011 Holiday Bowl Defensive MVP
What he brings: A pure 4-3 linebacking prospect, the speedy Robinson projects as more of a quick, sideline-to-sideline tackler a la Jerod Mayo as opposed to a downhill, Brandon Spikes-type run stuffer. Robinson’s greatest asset is his speed, a talent that some teams project can be better utilized on the outside of a 4-3, allowing him to better roam in space. Robinson was underutilized as a blitzer while playing middle linebacker at Texas, leaving his capability as a pass rusher largely enigmatic should he move to the outside.
Robinson has a reputation for hitting with a vengeance and does a good job of bringing down ballcarriers. However, scouts have slammed his ability to fight through blocks and attack the line of scrimmage, claiming that he tends to go around blocks rather than through them. When he does go inside, Robinson is known to get swallowed up when taking on larger blockers. Despite the holes in his game, Robinson is universally identified as a high-character player and leader with solid game tape, which may be enough to outweigh the issues raised by draft experts.
Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 3-4
Notes: Robinson came into the 2011 college season as one of the top inside linebackers in the draft, but he has fallen drastically as scouts continue to pick apart his game. In one of his early drafts last year, ESPN’s Todd McShay had Robinson going No. 23 overall. Now, though, Robinson’s stock has drifted toward the middle rounds.
The speed-reliant prospect’s performance at the combine was hit-and-miss. Robinson’s 4.79-second 40-yard dash ranked 23rd out of 29 linebackers, which could raise eyebrows when talking about a player who has such high-end game speed. Meanwhile, Robinson’s 27 reps on the bench press was in the top five at the combine for his position.
Video: Here’s a package of Robinson’s highlights from his final game at Texas: the 2011 Holiday Bowl against Cal. Robinson recorded nine tackles in a 21-10 victory.
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