When the Minnesota Vikings selected linebacker Edmond Robinson in the seventh round of the 2015 draft they knew he was going to be a project player. He had great size and athleticism, but he really only worked in pass coverage while at college and played at a Division II school with an enrollment of just under 1,200 students.
The original plan might have been to store him away on the practice squad for a season and have him get some work there, but after a good showing during the preseason it was evident that they couldn’t do that. They kept him on the 53-man roster and he primarily worked as the strongside linebacker, backing up Anthony Barr.
Robinson admitted that his head was spinning for most of his rookie season, as he was trying to learn the defense and the playbook, but he is a lot more comfortable heading into his second season.
“The second year, a lot has slowed down,” he said. “Kind of understand where I’m suppose to be at. Getting a little more reps, so I’m starting to understand the defense more, understanding what the coaches want from me and just going through and flying around.”
http://www.scout.com/nfl/vikings/story/1676037-harrison-smith-signs-exte... He is able to just go out onto the field now and play the game. He isn’t constantly thinking about where he is supposed to be or what he is supposed to be doing anymore. He is able to just go out there and do what he is suppose to do with methodically going through each step of the play. He has a much better understanding of the playbook and is more comfortable in the defense the Vikings run.
The coaching staff has clearly seen Robinson’s increased comfort level this offseason because they have began to increase his role in the defense. Not only is he working as the strongside linebacker, but also as the weakside linebacker.
“I’m getting acclimated to both sides,” he said. “I know the strong side. They’ve been moving me, I’ve been getting some reps at the weak side as well. The more you can do, we all know, the better and the better chance of you making the ball team. So I’m just trying to do what they ask me to do and just go out there and do my job.”
Robinson said that he expected the coaches to increase his workload this offseason because he is heading into his second year as a professional. And that is OK with him because he wanted the coaches to give him more responsibilities.
The coaches have clearly been happy with the way he has been handling those new responsibilities and been developing as an NFL-caliber linebacker because he has even been getting some work in with the starters. Barr had to miss some practice time last week and it was Robinson filling in for him.
He knows not to look into the fact he was working with the starters too much, though, because he has also been working with the second and third team this offseason. But, of course, he is happy the coaches chose him to fill in for Barr because it meant he got extra reps and extra reps always help.
“They definitely helped me out. Last year the reps were really limited for me. This year, that I’ve seen, I’ve been getting a little more reps so I can go out there, perfect my craft and I’m understanding everything more as I’m supposed to,” he explained. “So just going out there, doing my job and trying to fly around.”
http://www.scout.com/nfl/vikings/story/1669803-subscribe-today-member-be... As mentioned earlier, when Robinson was in college he really only focused on pass coverage. He never had to focus much on the running game or blitzing. Blitzing was the one thing he worked on the most during his rookie season and it continues to be the thing he is working on the most so far through offseason workouts. The coaching staff has even had him in on some defensive line drills so he can understand what it is he needs to be doing. He’s getting a good understanding of everything, but the biggest thing he is still working on is his hand placement when blitzing around an offensive tackle.
“Knowing where to place your hand, whether the offensive tackle is giving you his chest or giving you his hands,” he said. “You have two moves and you’re just trying to perfect those moves, and just do what you’ve got to do to get around them and get to the quarterback.”
Robinson knows that nothing is just going to be handed over to him this year and that he is going to have to work hard if he wants to make the team, much like he had to do last year. There is a lot of depth at the linebacker position this season, but he certainly appears to be on the right track.