The Long Road to 53: Adrian Robinson


From Harrisburgh Pennsylvania, outside linebacker Adrian Robinson has never played football for a team outside of his home state. He chose to play for Temple University, where he would rack up a total of 23 sacks and 33 tackles for a loss, but that was not enough to get a call on draft day. He was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent.

Outside linebacker in the Steelers’ 3-4 defense is one of the most important positions on the field. Yes they are in charge of getting after the quarterback and getting sacks, but they are also required to drop back in coverage when asked upon. Maybe that’s where Adrian Robinson will struggle most. The 6’1″ 250 pound linebacker had a productive preseason in 2012, and he remained on the roster for the entire season.

His coverage ability still remains a question to head coach Mike Tomlin. Robinson’s job will be to prove to his head coach that he is not a one-trick pony.

Linebackers coach Keith Butler thought quite highly of the undrafted outside linebacker a season ago. “He really worked hard trying to learn the defense and cut down on his mistakes. In my mind, he had a big desire to improve his game and learn the defense.”

So it is obvious that the linebacker has made some big leaps since coming into Pittsburgh. At Temple, he marched onto the scene with a breakout sophomore season. Robinson recorded 14 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks. Robinson reached the honors of MAC Defensive Player of the Year that season.

Robinson seen action on special teams in 2012, but was unable to make one single tackle.

In 2013, Robinson is in a class of eager and young outside linebackers. He must prove that he belongs on the football team. Jarvis Jones, Stevenson Sylvester, Chris Carter, and Robinson are all fighting for reps behind LaMarr Woodley and Jason Worilds, who is the expected to start at right outside linebacker.

Do not count out Robinson. Carter was unable to produce when his number was called in 2012 while James Harrison was nursing an injury. Sylvester is making the switch to outside linebacker after spending three seasons inside. Robinson seems to have a better chance to produce than his competition going into training camp.

It is no surprise that Robinson still has a lot to do to make this football team. He must show up on the first day of camp and be ready to execute his assignments. If he can improve his ability to pass protect, Robinson may have a future in Pittsburgh, but if he can not show Mike Tomlin what he is looking for, Robinson may be called to pack his bags. The upside in Robinson is impressive, but he still has a long road to make the 53-man roster.

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