In Luke Easterling's recent 3 round mock draft, he has the Rams using the 14th overall selection to take Penn State EDGE rusher, Chop Robinson. In the 3rd rd, at slot 76, we get the Yale LT that I profiled before, Kiran Amegadjie. After seeing this mock, I decided that it was an appropriate time to do a full profile on Robinson.
Name: Demeioun "Chop" Robinson. Turns 21 years old in January of 2024.
School: Penn State. Transferred from Maryland after 2021 season. True Junior. Telecommunications major.
Size: Listed 6'3'' tall, 254 pounds.
4 star recruit from Maryland. Has 7 siblings. Nicknamed "Porkchop", because he was 14 pounds at birth. Has an NIL deal with the Pennsylvania Pork Producers Council. Have you ever been to the Paul Getty Museum? I once had an outstanding pork chop there.
Played as a true freshman for Maryland, but didn't like that they had him dropping into coverage in a hybrid LB/DE position, wanted to be used more as a pure pass rusher, transferred to PSU in 2022. Was listed at 239 pounds in 2022, added weight for 2023 season.
Had a concussion in the 1st half of the Ohio State game in 2023, missed the rest of that game, then also missed the next 2 games.
In interviews, has a "go getter" personality. Sean McVay will probably love him, because McVay's favorite word is "conscientious" and PSU's DL coach described Robinson as very coachable and conscientious.
2021 (13 games): 19 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, 2 sacks
2022 (12 games): 26 tackles, 10 TFLs, 5.5 sacks, 2 PD, FF
2023 (10 games): 15 tackles, 7.5 TFLs, 4 sacks, PD, 2 FF
Josh Edwards (CBSSports) 29th overall
PFF board 11th overall, 2nd EDGE, 90.6 PFF grade
PFN board 15th overall (3 analysts rank him 16th, 19th and 17th)
NFLMDD 17th overall
Steve Shoup 25th overall
BuffaloFambase 18th overall
Easterling mock draft 14th overall to the Rams
Stats are misleading. He was outstanding in one of the games I watched, a dominant force. So, it was surprising to look at the boxscore of that game and it says that he had zero tackles and no other official stats. A QB pressure is not an official stat. Blowing up a running play where someone else makes the tackle isn't an official stat. Don't just rely on stats, he might have been the single best player on the field in that game, despite the boxscore saying that he was invisible and didn't make an impact.
I was so impressed with Robinson that I decided to track his "losses". Any rep where he got blocked to the point that he had no positive impact, or any other play where he made some type of mistake, I counted those as losses. In the 5 games I watched from 2023, I counted a total of 8 lost reps. That's less than 2 per game. One of the L's was questionable, because the OL was arguably holding him. A couple others he went against a double team. One play, he chased the RB on a read option, but the QB still had the ball. One time, he dove inside, but it was a QB designed power run, so the QB ran by him to the outside. Virtually every other play in all those games, Robinson was doing something positive to contribute to the cause, consistently good snap to snap.
Good effective play length. His arms look like they are only average length for an NFL edge rusher, but he uses every inch of his length on the field. Violently discards blockers.
Has very quick hands with good accuracy.
Abnormal play strength and power for his size. On paper, you'd think that he'd be too small to be a 4-3 DE, but instead he's very strong at the POA against the run. Plenty of power to stack and shed bigger OL. Very good setting the edge vs OTs, but also can drive RTs backwards off the LOS to create distortions and mess up blocking schemes.
Phenomenal leverage to forklift opponents, whether RTs or TEs and drive them backwards, can generate massive power. Plays with outstanding pad level. Gets into powerful body positions to gain leverage under the blocker's pads, then push them backwards to constrict running lanes.
Completely overwhelms TEs and lesser talented RTs. Aggressively attacks pulling blockers. Pad popper with desired aggression and physicality. He jammed a TE releasing into route and the sound was so loud that it reverberated throughout the stadium.
Very good on short yardage, GL and QB sneak type plays. Forklifted TE off ground on 3rd&1, to pry his way into inside gap. Not afraid of doing dirty work and diving into scrums. Gets low, drives into interior gaps, occupies multiple blockers, holds the LOS and pushes it back towards the opponent. Chop is a throwback, pure, all around football player. He's not one of those EDGE players who only cares about his own sack total and doesn't do any of the other necessary tasks to play defense. Chop plays with a "whatever it takes to win this game, I'll do it with enthusiasm" mentality.
Constant threat to penetrate vs runs, can attack interior gaps and also use speed to go outside and around the OT.
Disrupts runs with both power and quick moves. On backside of play, vs TE, he drives the TE 3 yards backwards so fast that when RB gets the handoff, the TE and RB are the exact same distance behind the LOS. Have you ever seen that before? I've seen a DT unblocked or shed a block so fast that he tackles the RB immediately after the handoff, but Chop is still technically blocked, the TE is in front of him, but with massive backfield penetration.
Opponent called trick play, making it look like a run, but it will be a misdirection WR screen pass. Chop doesn't know that it is a trick play, but he messes up the play design by driving the LT backwards into the backfield. This opens up an unexpected clear path for the DT to react to the screen and since the DT isn't where the QB expects, it spooks the QB out from throwing the screen pass. Small things can be big things.
Blows up gap runs by destroying pull blockers. Danger to knife inside of interior gaps vs zone runs. Can slant inside on backside of runs and get TFLs.
Cat line agility vs read options. Impressive athleticism combined with rare quick twitch reflexes. One play, he acts like he's going to take on the lead fullback, but instead he jukes and cuts around the FB at a sharp angle and bends around him to the RB. I've only seen elite stand up LBs pull off that type of move and he's doing it as a DE.
Very impressed on a play where he wasn't blocked. TE came across the formation on sift action, but faked block and released to flat. Chop normally would obliterate any puller, but instead of whiffing and falling down when the TE doesn't block and goes around him, DE shows great balance and body control, stays on feet, changes direction and pursues the ball.
Shocking speed as pass rusher. Bursts off the snap like he's shot out of a cannon, can cleanly beat slow OTs to the corner and bend the edge around them to get to the QB. Super explosive, can dip his body at the apex. Can flatten and excellent ability to redirect to QB with superior closing burst. Desperate urgency to get to the QB, like a movie action hero trying to deactivate a bomb at the last second. Once he dips and gets by the OT, he unleashes "whirling arms of death" closing in on the QB, hunting for strip sacks, Dwight Freeney style. Near the QB, Chop is like a hungry lion trying to get the next meal.
Almost unfair when he attacks from a wide 9 alignment, so much speed that it puts tremendous stress on the OT to get to the corner to cut him off. Went around LT even though he also had to go around TE.
While he's most dangerous attacking the outside edge, he does have sufficient ability to bull rush LTs and RTs backwards into the QB. Can spin counter off of blocks.
On twists and stunts, he's great both as the looper and as the penetrator to take on the blockers to free up the looper. Can pry his way between OL like he's pushing open an elevator door. Fantastic acceleration, COD and closing speed as looper. Can convert speed to power as looper and drive OL backwards to collapse the pocket.
Wiggle in hips to freeze OL with hesitation and jukes off the snap, then COD to burn them if they overset.
Rare recovery athleticism and body control. OT pushed him on pass rush, at first I thought he was finished on his pass rush, but DE maintains his balance and without delay or pause still beats the OT around the corner with speed, nearly causing a sack fumble.
Insane get off reaction, reflexes and burst. C snaps the ball. DE lined up inside reacts to the snap (he didn't anticipate or try to guess the snap count) and as he's fully extended with hands into the C's chest, all of the other 4 PSU defenders have yet to cross the LOS.
Speed to pursue, as if he's a stand up LB. Hustles and chases the ball from far away, great pursuit range.
Very high motor, a burning desire to compete. Plays ridiculously hard, high energy, balls to the wall style every snap. Refuses to stay blocked, intense effort to counter and get off run blocks to pursue RB.
Once he drops into coverage, he goes into "search and destroy" mode, and will hunt the ball with a predatory mindset.
Combative and aggressive on field, doesn't back down from challenges or let opponents try to intimidate him. Has a "take the fight to the enemy" style of play.
Versatile in alignment, role and scheme. Played on 4 man front at PSU. Sometimes they used a hybrid front where the DE opposite of Chop was a LEO LB. Aligned in both tight and wide splits. In some passing situations, used over the C or G in NASCAR type package, standing up in 2 point stance. When pass rushing vs OG, can obliterate them with his quickness and hands, presenting them with a different type of challenge vs facing a DT. Very twitchy, difficult for G or C to mirror him. Frequently asked to drop into shallow pass coverage, so has traits and experience that translate well to being a 3-4 OLB.
Chop is lined up over the C. Shotgun snap. As the QB gets to the top of his drop from shotgun, the DE has driven the C backwards so far and so fast that the C is only 2 yards in front of the QB. DE then leaps over the top of the C (like how to celebrate a TD, the OL sometimes lifts a RB up into the air) then in midair tries to strip the ball out of the QB's hands. Power, athleticism, with Troy Polamalu style energy, all rolled up in a single play.
Something that excites me about Chop is I think he could be kryptonite to athletic, dual threat, running and scrambling QBs. Instead of using a dedicated spy, taking a defender out of pass coverage, a good DC could come up with ways to use Robinson as a de facto spy, to help contain the QB. For example, by using Chop as a looper, he effectively becomes almost like a delayed blitz. He can read the action and if the QB takes off running, can react and pursue, but if the QB is contained, he can crash the pocket and become a pass rusher. The combination of his pursuit athleticism and speed, but with pass rush talent, allows the defense not to compromise or change their pass coverage scheme on the back end, but simultaneously not be so exposed to getting burned by a running QB.
Bottom line, Chop Robinson is a difference maker on defense against both the run and the pass. Very noticeable when he's not on the field for PSU. The other DL aren't on his level.
Very young, he's currently only 20 years old. The 2023 season is the first year that he's at an NFL type playing weight. Early entrant, who is just beginning to tap into his star potential. He's really good now, but his arrow is pointing up, has additional developmental potential to become even better. Best football is still ahead of him.
A key flaw with Chop is he doesn't have elite flexibility in his lower body. He's not great at generating angular momentum when engaged with the OT and sometimes loses his footing and balance trying to turn the corner. OTs can knock him to the ground at the apex.
A 2nd big flaw is Chop does not have an advanced pass rush repertoire. His game is primarily based on his superior athleticism and has very solid foundation of basic moves. He can stab, long arm, he loves a rip move set up by some type of swipe or stab. He doesn't combine moves and layer them and if his initial move fails (e.g. his swipe misses, so his rip gets stuffed), he has no plan and little ability to execute counters, so the rush tends to stall. He does have a power rush and is a dangerous speed rusher, but he isn't elite at converting speed to power vs an OT heads up. Too repetitive with moves, needs to have more variety and ability to save/set up moves to use later in the game. He won't consistently generate sacks in the NFL unless he continues to add more and better pass rush moves to his arsenal.
He needs to develop a better finishing move. Pass rushing toolbox not complete. He'd get an advantage over the OL, but allowed them to recover and prevent him from finishing the play with a sack or QB knockdown.
Powerful OTs with length can knock him off balance and off course on his pass rush.
His swipe moves are not violent, hands not heavy.
Only has average arm length to finish sacks, vulnerable to "just missed" reps.
Pass rushed often vs RTs, didn't go exclusively or even majority of time vs LTs.
Undersized to be an NFL 4-3 DE. He's excellent in college, but some of his opponents won't be playing on Sundays, so there is a "I'll believe it when I see it" question about whether he can hold up against enormous and super powerful NFL right tackles.
Sets the edge well off the snap, but if it is a wide run where the OT gets a running start and DE has to flow laterally down the line prior to engagement, he doesn't have optimal body mass to set an anchor and set the edge.
A little stiff dropping into coverage. Not fast or fluid with straight backwards pedal. Doesn't always gain enough depth on diagonal drops. I'm not sure why, but multiple times when he dropped back he collided with other defenders behind him or wasn't in proper relation to them.
Dropped INT, hands don't look natural catching the ball.
His kamikaze style of play is both a pro and a con, because he plays so hard, at times it borders on being out of control. He plays so hard, with disregard for his own safety, I'm concerned he might get injured, he'll throw his body into lead blockers or pursue the RB and collide with other players traveling in the opposite direction. Short yardage run, looked like he knocked helmets with the RB.
Doesn't play 100% of their snaps. PSU used some type of platoon system to rotate their DL. Other players typically would play an entire series. He has played 302 of their 713 defensive snaps (remember, he missed 2.5 games due to injury, plus if PSU had big leads in the 2nd half, sometimes the starters would get pulled and not play much in the 4th qtr.)
Multiple times, Chop lined up offsides at DE, with his helmet over the football, sometimes called penalty, sometimes not.
His eagerness and ability to get upfield or penetrate can be exploited by plays that go behind him or inside of him (similar to how teams sometimes attack Aaron Donald), with draws, screens or misdirection plays.
Statistical production doesn't match that of a typical early 1st round pick. Only has 9.5 sacks in 2 seasons at PSU, 11.5 total in his career. Single season career high of 5.5 sacks. Byron Young had 12.5 sacks in 2 years at Tennessee and was a 3rd round pick.
Draft Grade and Pro Comp
1st round grade, top 10 overall. (Von Miller, 2nd overall selection 2011, Denver Broncos, Texas A&M)
Miller is currently in the news for a domestic violence arrest.
If they were in the same draft, I'd rank Miller higher. Miller has very springy, loose and flexible legs, like a gymnast. A very rare athlete. He had 27.5 sacks his last 2 seasons in college. Granted, part of this was due to that era of football. Some teams were still power oriented with heavy and slow OTs for run blocking and were no match for Miller's explosive speed and quickness.
Miller at the Combine was 6'3'' tall, 246 pounds, 33.5'' arms, and ran a blazing 4.53 seconds in the 40. One of his most impressive measurements was he ran the 3 cone in 6.7 seconds. At the 2023 Combine, this would have been 3rd best among all positions, with the only 2 players ahead of him being a WR and CB. Von Miller is an OLB who has the agility and athleticism of an elite NFL slot WR. A unicorn type prospect.
Miller was instantly one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, but his career wasn't entirely smooth. In his 3rd NFL season, Miller was suspended for allegedly trying to fool a drug test by substituting someone else's urine. Later that season, he tore his ACL.
After an All Pro career in Denver, Miller was traded to the Rams to bolster the 2021 Super Bowl run. This rental potentially helped the Rams win the SB, but it also came at a substantial price. The Rams gave up multiple draft picks and the one at the bottom of the 2nd round became Nik Bonitto.
Byron Young (Rams): 5 sacks, 65.3 PFF grade, 12.4% pressure rate, 6.1% QB hurry rate
Nik Bonitto (Broncos): 7 sacks, 62.6 PFF grade, 19.4% pressure rate, 11.7% QB hurry rate
Chop Robinson is one of the biggest prizes in the 2024 draft and he merits consideration to be a priority 1st round draft target for the Rams.