Steelers Film Room: LB Mark Robinson's Closing Speed
It is hard to believe that at one point in his football career, rookie Mark Robinson was a running back.
In his first full year as a linebacker with Ole Miss, Robinson registered 92 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. This level of production may have one conclude that Robinson was always meant to play defense.
One of the aspects that made Robinson successful last year at Ole Miss was his ability to blitz the quarterback. His closing speed is arguably his best asset, an asset that was on full display last night against the Seattle Seahawks.
Showing His Range
As expected, Robinson had some struggles in coverage, as seen in this sequence.
The Seahawks ran a personnel package with four wide receivers, trips formation on the right. When the ball is snapped, one runs a vertical route while the other three run crossing routes. During the sequence, Robinson has his eye on the receiver coming on the left, but he is briefly obstructed by the receiver crossing on the right. The slight delay gave his assigned receiver enough room to make the reception.
Even with this, Robinson uses his speed to track the receiver and finish the play. What can be said is that Robinson has the type of speed and range that could minimize the number of yards a receiver may gain after a reception.
Robinson's Blitzing Speed
In this clip, Robinson is first seen positioned as the right inside linebacker on the outside. Notice how he quickly shifts beside edge rusher Hamilcar Rashed Jr. From the way this play unfolded, it became apparent that Seattle quarterback Drew Lock did not see this move pre-snap.
When the ball is snapped, Robinson rushes in unblocked, using his speed to close the gap and blindsides Lock. The hit resulted in a fumble, which was recovered by fellow linebacker Tuzar Skipper. This was arguably the biggest play of the game, as the Steelers offense would eventually score the game-winning touchdown in the ensuing series.
Considering the fact that Robinson has been a linebacker for less than two years, the fact that he is able to make the type of plays he did against the Seahawks speaks volumes about him as an athlete and an overall football player. As time goes on, Robinson will only grow in experience and keep evolving in the position. From what he has shown so far, his ceiling is higher than many would have expected.