Bet on traits at EDGE. That’s the mantra nowadays, and few 2022 NFL Draft scouting reports match up with it more than that of Miami (Ohio) DE Dominique Robinson. Robinson still has plenty to learn, but he emanates upside on the field. The offseason has his stock soaring, but how does he profile on the field? What can he become?
Dominique Robinson NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Defensive End
- School: Miami (OH)
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 6’4 5/8″
- Weight: 254 pounds
- Wingspan: 82 3/8″
- Length: 33 3/8″
- Hand: 9 3/8″
Dominique Robinson Scouting Report
The upside is tantalizing with Robinson. Before he even broke out in 2021, Robinson was listed on the 2021 Feldman’s Freaks list. At the time, he’d reportedly beefed up to 256 pounds and logged a 4.62 40-yard dash, a 34-inch vertical, and a 4.31 pro-agility time. He was also documented to bench 350 pounds.
The tools are there in spades with Robinson, but how does that help him on the football field? Just how high is his ceiling at his maximum projection, and what does he need to do to get there? That’s what we’ll look to answer in his 2022 NFL Draft scouting report.
Robinson’s athletic profile
Let’s start with the obvious. Robinson is fast, and he is explosive. The Miami (OH) DE has a super quick get-off, and he can gear up quickly off the line. He uses his long strides to generate displacement. However, he can also quicken his stride lengths to maximize his short-area acceleration.
Robinson is an amped-up athlete who’s incredibly quick and loose for his long frame. He has rare stop-and-start ability for his size, as he’s able to sidestep punches and explode forward. With arms over 33 inches long, he can channel his explosiveness well, and he has good speed-to-power capacity. He can also combine his burst and length to execute push-pull moves and deconstruct anchors.
Going further, Robinson can use his lateral athleticism to gain leverage, then rip anchors away and free himself to pursue. He’s also able to swerve laterally with brutal quickness as he accelerates, leaving tackles in the lurch. The Miami (Ohio) DE flashes good ankle flexion around the edge. He can lean while accelerating upfield, and he has great closing burst in the backfield. His length and explosiveness combine to form great range.
Robinson’s best usage might come as a pass rusher, but he has the athleticism to peel off and drop into coverage as well. He can blanket running backs in the short range.
Execution beyond the physical traits
Robinson’s developmental upside is his top selling point. But the flashes of hand usage and awareness only make that upside more worth banking on. While Robinson is relatively raw with his hands, he’s shown promising glimpses. He can time forceful swipes at the apex, then dip into the pocket. He flashes violence at the point of attack, and he has a twitched-up athletic makeup, which maximizes that potential energy.
At the apex, Robinson has employed several moves on occasion. He can get around the edge with a rip move once he starts bending inside. And he also flashes the ability to club the outside hand and pinch the corner with quickness. While he’s still developing, Robinson has a fighter’s disposition in 1-on-1 battles. The Miami (OH) DE can quickly latch and tug at anchors.
Going further, Robinson’s length helps him from an executional standpoint. The Miami (Ohio) DE can pry himself free with that length and explode into the backfield to engage the QB. Moreover, he has the lateral agility to quickly rotate off blocks and seal off lanes in run defense with his length. He may be a work in progress, but Robinson has a hot motor, and he brings great energy on every rep.
Areas for improvement
Most notably, Robinson is still working on using hand moves in conjunction with his raw athletic traits. He often relies on his athletic traits alone and doesn’t supplement consistently with his hand usage.
Robinson can better channel his build-up speed by loading and shooting his hands on extensions. To that end, his hands aren’t reliably fast or violent. He needs to channel his natural energy with his hands more. Part of this derives from his inconsistent rushing plans. He can be more proactive in setting up linemen and manipulating angles with his athleticism and hand usage. He can also add more counters to his arsenal, as more athletic tackles can seal off the apex.
Moving on, Robinson’s pads can be a little too upright at times. That can limit the range of his lateral moves and also negatively impact his leverage. Additionally, Robinson’s hips can be a little tight when trying to pinch the corner. Robinson sometimes misreads options and runs himself out of plays as well.
Finally, Robinson’s run defense is a work in progress. He gets taken off the field on early downs often, and he’s not yet a full-time run defender. He doesn’t have great play strength, and he also doesn’t have a powerful-enough lower body to hold ground and set the edge consistently. The Miami (OH) DE can improve how he leverages angles in run defense, as he gives up too much surface area at times.
Robinson’s 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview
There’s a lot of upside to mold with a player like Robinson. That was especially evident at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile. There, Robinson frequently flashed with his searing explosiveness and lateral agility. He also showed off the ability to bend around the corner and accelerate into the backfield. Those are traits he shows on film as well.
Robinson might not have elite bend, but he’s still good there. His hips can get locked up, and he’s not always able to roll through the apex. Nevertheless, Robinson has enough bend to shrink his surface area. Meanwhile, with his high-level explosiveness and quick acceleration off the line, he can beat tackles to the corner, and he can also set them up for brutal swims back inside.
Robinson has the explosiveness, pace, and agility of a high-level speed rusher, but he has the frame to potentially become a complete pass-rushing threat in time. He has the length to conduct pass-rushing moves like clubs and swipes, and he also has solid speed-to-power capacity.
For a player who only switched over from wide receiver several years ago, Robinson has shown promising recent growth. He’s flashed the ability to use his hands with violence and precision, and he’s shown he can actively set up tackles and come with a plan as well. It’s not consistent yet, but the Miami (Ohio) DE is trending up, and he has the physical upside worth developing. It’ll take some time, and he may be a pass-rush specialist early on, but he has starting potential.
Robinson’s Player Profile
Robinson has always been an uncommon athlete. It just wasn’t as clear at his previous position. He originally played as a dual-threat quarterback at Canton McKinley High School but was recruited by some teams as a wide receiver convert. It no doubt made sense at the time. Robinson brought a 6’4″, 210-pound frame, along with easy athleticism.
Robinson held out at quarterback, at first. He was a mere two-star recruit, and he only received interest from a few schools — one of them being Miami University in Ohio. For Robinson, the opportunity to play FBS football in-state was enticing — and so he pounced on it. And once he got to Miami, he felt that moving to wide receiver might earn him more chances early on.
Robinson’s career at Miami (OH)
Robinson is on his way to being drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft as an edge rusher. But shockingly, he actually spent more of his collegiate career as a wide receiver. He switched to wide receiver quickly after joining the RedHawks, used mainly on special teams in 2017.
In 2018, Robinson started to see the field on offense, providing value with his size, catching 13 passes for 156 yards and 4 touchdowns. 2019 featured a few more big plays. Robinson collected 296 yards on just 14 catches, averaging over 20 yards per catch. He showed some promise as a big-play threat. But by fall of 2020, he’d be making big plays on the defense instead.
Although the RedHawks only played three games in a COVID-shortened 2020 season, Robinson flashed a great deal on the defensive line. In those three games, he put up 9 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and a pass deflection. His inclusion on the 2021 Freaks list helped kick-start the buzz behind his name. But it was Robinson’s technique work that helped him take the next step in 2021.
In 13 games in 2021, Robinson amassed 28 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks. His production was good enough to earn him third-team All-MAC honors, as well as an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl. At the Senior Bowl, he frequently flashed, showing off his upside as a developmental pass rusher.
Robinson’s NFL Draft ascension
It’s important that we don’t take for granted how impressive Robinson’s late-career ascension is. He played offense for his entire life up to that point. Then, in 2020, he started playing on the edge. Within a year, he improved his technique, built up his frame, and emerged as a legitimate NFL Draft prospect in 2021. 2022 will be just Robinson’s third year playing EDGE. So, it’s easy to be excited about what he can become.
Robinson can still get stronger, both in his upper and lower body. He can also keep refining his hand usage and perfecting the use of different moves. There’s still plenty of work to do, but the Miami (Ohio) DE has the athletic traits to be a valuable pass-rushing spark plug in a rotation early on. And eventually, he could go on to be a scheme-versatile starter.