Dale Robinson, LB
Numbers: 6003/235/4.84 forty
2005 stats: 74 tackles, 41 assists, 15-45 tackles for loss, 4-25 sacks, 1 pass defensed, 2 fumble recoveries, 3 forced fumbles
The player: While many Colts fans were excited when the team signed Robinson, who they knew from draft magazines and nationally televised games, I was a bit more skeptical. Historically those guys who are drafted later (or not all) than the media expects are bigger gambles than those labeled "reaches." Still, it's hard to argue with a guy called "Manimal." You really can't argue with Robinson's production in Tempe. Not only did he put up big numbers in the middle as a senior, but he did just as well on the strongside as a junior (13 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 pick). While his stats say first day, his measurables scream undrafted. Small and slow isn't what scouts are looking for. Despite his size, he's one of college football's most vicious hitters and while he has a slow 40, he has such good short-area speed, he's a strong tackle-to-tackle run defender and an effective blitzer. He's relentless and never gives up on a play. While his instincts are good enough in the passing game, he can be easily beaten by backs and tight ends and can be easily tied up by blockers.
How he fits: I've seen lesser athletes than Robinson succeed, and he is something of a born football player, but may find his limitations more daunting in the NFL than they were in college. If things work out for him, he could be a Rob Morris-type — a special teams demon who can fill in at middle linebacker, as long as he won't be exposed too long and expected to do much on third downs.
Reminds me of: Frank Chamberlin, Texans
Robinson battles Joseph Addai
(Photo: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)