Going into the 2012 NFL Draft, one of the Charger’s biggest needs is pass rush from the OLB position. The team is almost certain to take a pass rusher early, however with San Diego’s tendency to lose players to injury, and the fact that 3 of the 5 OLB’s on the roster will have their contract expire at the end of this season, taking a second OLB a little later in the draft is certainly not out of the question.
With that in mind, we have Temple defensive end Adrian Robinson. One of the best pure pass rusher’s available in the mid to late rounds, Robinson was a force behind the line of scrimmage during his college career. He amassed 156 Tackles including 33.5 TFL and 24 Sacks. Besides all the tackles, Robinson was constantly making big impact plays shown by his 8 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions, and 3 blocked kicks. Robinson also proved to be durable, playing every game during his 4 seasons at Temple and started a team high 32 games during that stretch.
When talking about his college career I asked him what his most memorable game was, “There’s a lot of great games to choose from. But it has to be our game versus Navy on Halloween in 2009 during my Sophomore season. I ended that game with 2 sacks in the final series of the game, including on the very last play. I also had 6 tackles on that day.“ Lacking this kind of clutch performance is what has hurt the Chargers most in recent years, especially in the playoffs.
Robinson lined up at DE for Temple, but with his size (6’1 252lbs) and athletic ability he is in a good position to transition to OLB in the NFL. When I asked him about how he feels about possibly being asked to drop back and cover a TE or RB, his response was “Yes, and I’ve actually been dropping back during all of my Temple years. Playing LB is not foreign to me because my coaches have been using me at that spot from time-to-time throughout my entire college career.”
I asked Adrian if he thought the Chargers should spend a pick on him and why? “Yes they should, and if they need pass rushers, I’m one of the best pure pass rushers in the draft.” Some people may take that as egotistical, but after talking to his agent and reading more about Adrian I can tell you there is no ego in that statement, just absolute confidence in his abilities. That confidence will be key when he starts his off-season training with his new team, allowing him to focus on getting better, not starting over.
I also asked Robinson who he would be most excited to learn from on the Charger’s defense, and who he would be most excited to test his skills against on offense. “On defense, I would be most excited to learn from Shaun Phillips and Takeo Spikes. It’s a tough choice on offense, but I will have to go with Jared Gaither, who is a great offensive tackle.“ Both excellent choices on defense as Phillips is San Diego’s most veteran OLB and Takeo Spikes is said to be one of the best leaders both on the field and in the locker room for the Bolts defense. The fact that he picked Gaither, arguably the Chargers best offensive lineman, shows just how hungry Robinson is to learn and improve.
While Robinson isn’t an “elite” prospect, he has all the physical tools, motivation, and talent you could want in a pass rushing OLB. He is projected to go in the later rounds, most likely day 3, of the NFL draft. Any team that is smart enough to take Robinson will be getting a great football player and someone who is, “going to come in and be a hard worker for the coaches and the fans. I will be the best player that I can be for my new team.“