The Lions should take a look at Keenan Robinson to add versatility and experience to the linebacker group
Lions head coach Matt Patricia said in his introductory press conference that, “The scheme is not something that’s not necessarily locked into exactly has to be this.” This statement likely indicates that they will be running variations of both a 3-4 and 4-3 in 2018 which will require the linebackers to be versatile in their traits, schemes, and mental sharpness. The Lions currently only have two outside linebackers signed for the 2018 season, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Steve Longa and their cap hits are both under $710,000. As for the inside linebackers, the Lions only have one under contract for the 2018 season, Jarrad Davis ($2.5 million ~ cap hit). They could use a versatile linebacker who can play in a 3-4, a 4-3, and has 5 years of NFL experience to help the younger linebackers on the roster. A linebacker from Texas who played for the Redskins and the Giants may be just the player the Lions need, Keenan Robinson.
I have watched five of Robinson’s games from the 2017 season and have prepared an in-depth report that will give you an idea if the Lions should have any interest in Robinson or not.
Name: Keenan Robinson
Position: 3-4 ILB, 4-3 Will OLB
DOB: 07-07-89 (28 years old)
Drafted: 2012 – 4th – Washington Redskins
Former Team: New York Giants
Games Played: 60
Games Started: 30
2017- Concussion (Weeks 1-2 – OUT), Quadricep (Weeks 10-17 – OUT, IR)
2016- Shoulder (Week 15)
2015- Heel (Week 7), Rib (Week 9), Shoulder (Weeks 10-13 – OUT, 14-17)
2014- Shoulder (Weeks 4, 9-11), Knee (Weeks 14-16 – OUT, 17)
2013- Torn Left Pectoral (Weeks 1-17 – OUT, IR)
2012- Torn Right Pectoral (Weeks 13-17 – OUT, IR)
2017- 6 games, 3 starts, 2 PDs, and 32 tackles.
2016- 16 games played, 6 starts, 7 PDs (Career High), and 79 tackles.
2015- 12 games played, 8 starts, 1 INT, 3 PDs, 1 FR, and 62 tackles
2014- 13 games played and started, 1 INT, 3 PDs, 1 FR, 1.5 sacks (Career High), and 104 tackles (Career High)
Career Stats- 30 career starts, 2 INT, 15 PDs, 2 FR, 1.5 sacks, and 282 tackles.
Weight: 242 lbs.
40-yard dash: 4.79
10-yard split: 1.69
Arm Length: 33”
Hand Size: 9 ¾”
3 Cone: N/A
Short Shuttle: 4.37
Broad Jump: 120.5”
Bench Press: 27 reps
2017- @ PHI 09/24, vs LAC 10/08, @ DEN 10/15, vs SEA 10/22, vs LAR 11/05
Best: Zone Coverage, Man Coverage vs RB/TE, Ability to leverage run vs Gap Inside
Worst: Athletic Ability, vs Run at POA, vs Outside Run, Ball Skills, Blitzing, Tackling
Athletic Ability: 3/7
Mental Processing: 3/7
Competitive Toughness: 3/7
Play Speed: 3/7
Play Strength: 3/7
Run at Point of Attack: 3/7
Outside Run: 2/7
Zone Coverage: 4/7
Man Coverage: 5/7
Ball Skills: 2/7
Robinson is a sixth-year player who played in only six games for the New York Giants in 2017. He missed the entirety of 2013 due to injury and has only played in all 16 games once in 2016. Under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, he played in a 4-3 scheme with occasional under fronts and 3-4 variations while playing a lot of zone coverage (Cover 1, Cover 1 Robber, Cover 2-4) with some man coverage mixed in. He has good size for both a 4-3 outside linebacker and a 3-4 inside linebacker as his height (6’3), weight (242), arm length (33″), and hand size (9 3/4) are all above the 50th percentile. He displays adequate athletic ability as he has below average quickness, acceleration, agility, and marginal balance.
He is solid in zone coverage due to average mental processing to diagnose routes, combinations, and down & distance pre and post-snap. Robinson is solid in pattern matching as he understands how to key the hips and leverage against solid wide receivers when they run posts, go routes, curls, drags, and post corners. He gets good depth as a hook/curl defender as he continues to sink until someone threatens his zone, he does a good job of keying his threats and the quarterback, he has solid change of direction after the ball is thrown, and he is average at walling a receiver then releasing to a threat.
Robinson is good in man coverage against running backs/tight ends as he is able to use solid mental processing to understand his leverage, possible routes, and down & distance pre and post-snap, he is able to take away a threat to the quarterback by using his athletic ability and change of direction, and he uses good patience and solid technique. He shows good ability to mirror go routes, outs, and stop & go routes against running backs while showing good ability to mirror curls, slants, outs, drags, and go routes against tight ends. Robinson displays solid change of direction after the ball is thrown. He displays an average ability to leverage against inside gap runs as he is able to key and diagnose, disengage blocks by using hand placement, strength, and technique, and puts himself in solid situations to make a play.
When in man coverage against running backs, whip routes and drag routes will beat him as running backs will take advantage of his inside leverage, use their athletic ability, and win. Robinson has marginal ball skills as he has minimal ability to track, locate, and get his hands where the ball is, an adequate ability to disrupt the receiver before the ball arrives, and a marginal ability to be strong at the catch point to separate the ball from the receiver. He displays minimal blitzing ability as he has adequate timing and speed, but a marginal ability to avoid, shed, and finish on the quarterback to get him off his spot or get a sack.
Robinson displays an adequate ability to play the run at the point of attack, specifically inside zone, due to below average mental processing to key and diagnose formations and blocking schemes pre and post-snap. He has an adequate ability to click and close and a marginal ability to leverage himself against inside zone as offensive linemen will get him turned around or have better leverage on him with their step. Robinson displays an adequate ability to disengage from second level blocks and a below average ability to tackle ball carriers in both gap and inside zone at the point of attack due to adequate technique and power. When unblocked, he needs to be more aggressive and shoot his gap to make a play instead of being hesitant and allowing the offensive linemen to get to him.
He is marginal against outside run as he displays adequate mental processing to key and diagnose pre and post-snap and marginal click and close, Robinson has minimal ability to leverage against both gap and outside zone as reach blocks will easily hold him up and he loses 1 v 1 on the perimeter against offensive linemen. He has a below average ability to disengage from blocks due to marginal hand placement and adequate strength. Robinson displays marginal angles and pursuit when chasing from the backside and an adequate ability to tackle the ball carrier due to below average technique and power. He has below average play strength and competitive toughness against the run as he does not win his 1 v 1 battles against offensive linemen. He is not consistently physical at the point of attack, he doesn’t compete at a high level every play, and he is not mentally tough. Robinson is a below average tackler as he does not finish well in the hole against running backs, he takes adequate angles, he goes low to high but with adequate power/arm tackles, and he does not demonstrate himself as a sure tackler.
Overall, Robinson is a 4-3 “will” outside linebacker or 3-4 inside linebacker role player who can provide solid zone coverage and good man coverage on passing situations with additional support on special teams. His adequate ability to play the run at the point of attack, athletic ability, tackling and marginal ability ball skills, ability to play outside run, and blitz limit him from being a starter you can win in spite of.
Robinson has had some injuries and definitely has some weaknesses, but his 2017 cap of $3 million will not hold up after another below average season. The Lions should take a look and give him a workout at the least as his versatility, coverage skills, ability to play special teams, and NFL experience would be a benefit to the linebacker room. He most likely will only command a contract for $1 million or less and the Lions could still add another piece through the draft or free agency. This would allow for the younger linebackers to gain valuable wisdom from a player who has been on two different teams in his career and it would allow for there to be constant competition at every linebacker position as he can play both inside and outside.