It was the linebackers, interior defensive linemen and defense edges who took the field in Indianapolis today as part of the NFL Combine workouts, a bit of a different set-up from years past for this particular group.
In past seasons, defensive linemen worked together as one group, taking part in the same drills. Due to positional evolution, the combine re-formatted their drills, with interior defensive linemen (i.e.: nose tackles, interior defensive tackles, tackle/ends) and edge rushers (i.e.: pure defensive ends, hybrid defensive end/linebackers) getting separate specialized workout drills. Players had the option to participate in multiple drill sessions, but most opted to stick to their usual groups.
MAC intrigue laid with just one prospect today, as Miami’s Dominique Robinson worked out with the edge rushers. A former receiver-turned-defensive end during COVID, Robinson showed great potential as a project prospect in 2021, his lone full season as a starter. (2020 was a six-game season, where he saw rotation work.)
Here’s how he performed today:
EDGE Dominique Robinson, Miami
- Height: six-foot-five
- Weight: 253 lbs.
- Arms: 33 and one-quarter inches
- Hands: nine and three-quarter inches
- 40-yard dash: 4.72 seconds (tenth amongst DE)
- 10-yard split: 1.67 seconds
- Bench press: 25 (second-best amongst DE)
- Vertical jump: 41 inches (best amongst DE; second-best overall)
- Broad jump: 10 feet, one inch
- Did not partake in any other physical tests
Robinson showed off why he is being considered one of the better project edge rushers in what will ultimately be a deep defensive line class, acing most every physical drill and coming in with great size for his position.
His vertical jump was especially noticeable, as his 41-inch jump would wind up second-best in the entire draft class. Robinson was also the second-best bench presser at his position, showing off a unique strength to go on top of his explosiveness, and had a Top 10 40-yard dash time. His background as a receiver was very apparent in the numbers, and likely had scouts salivating at the potential he exhibited.
The positional workouts were a bit more mixed, but he still excelled for the most part. Robinson showed great touch and awareness in coverage drills, nabbing catches in the short zone break and read-and-react drills, and skying up on what was essentially a wheel route exercise to make an attempted catch on some high passes. He did have several stumbles, especially in the five-yard wave and the hoop drill, where he looked stiff and uncertain in both exercises, but those are fixable with some development at the pro level and can be forgiven due to his relative lack of time at the position. Robinson also stumbled twice in part due to losing cleats, a problem he fixed for the last drill.
As expressed earlier, the defensive line is a very deep class this year, so there will be a certain ceiling for a player such as Robinson, but he could wind up going off the board sometime in Day 2 at his current growth.