Should the Chicago Bears draft Alton Robinson, edge rusher from Syracuse?
The Chicago Bears signed Robert Quinn, but in losing Leonard Floyd, they still lack depth at the outside linebacker position. Would a player like Alton Robinson from Syracuse be a worthy candidate?
Robinson was a top recruit who committed to Texas A&M. However, an off of the field issue had his scholarship taken away. After a year at Juco, Robinson transferred to Syracuse. He got on the field immediately and put up five sacks. The following year, he put ten sacks, which put his name on the draft radar. However, in 2019 he put up just 4.5 sacks, coming back down to earth.
This will likely push Alton Robinson into day-three range. At that point, should the Chicago Bears take a chance?
It is worth noting that these measurables are compared against defensive ends, rather than outside linebackers. Still, Robert Quinn is much more defensive end, so the Bears could be transitioning a bit in the scheme. Robinson is a bit undersized, but the athleticism surely puts him in play to be a late-round option to find success in the NFL.
Robinson uses that athleticism to get a good first step. He takes off from the snap and gets a head of steam into the backfield. His best pass-rushing move is his burst to the outside, followed by an inside counter. He has strong hands and knows how to use them, which helps him create counters. Robinson also does a reliable job of setting the edge against the run.
Robinson has an excellent first step but struggles to bend and turn the corner. He can push pockets, and he can set the edge, but the sacks go up and down because he is mostly there for cleanup duty rather than on his own creation.
Robinson motor can run hot and cold as well and has penalty issues. Combined with his off of the field questions, and you can say that there are maturity issues that he will have to answer from NFL teams.
NFL comparison for Alton Robinson
There are 56 comparable athletes to have had NFL success from a similar size and athletic profile standpoint. What is interesting to note is that Robert Quinn, Sam Acho, and Kylie Fitts all fall under a similar athletic threshold to what Robinson posted at the combine. If Ryan Pace has a threshold for adding edge rushers, Robinson passed them and is likely to be in consideration.
Robinson is expected to be a day three pick. Below you can see some of the better examples of players selected outside of the top 80 picks.
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Vernon was the highest drafted of the group and has had the best career to date. That could be an upside comparison as they have similar edge-setting power, but Vernon was stronger and more consistent coming out.
After being a 7th round pick, Odenigbo had a break out seven sack year as a rotational rusher, similar to what Lawson did as a rookie. Basham has bounced around but has been a sturdy depth rusher as well. These three are likely outcomes as a player who can have seven or eight sacks in clean up duty at times, but is going to have inconsistent numbers. He would likely fit best as a third rusher who can get on the field at any down.
Fit with Chicago Bears
Isaiah Irving and James Vaughters have stuck around as UDFA depth rushers, but neither has much upside to them. No one is saying that Robinson would immediately be better, but his upside was higher, and he could compete with the two for a roster spot next season.
On average, Robinson goes around pick 110 in mock drafts. Basham went 80th, and Lawson 116th, so this could be a range.
The Chicago Bears do not pick until 140. They could trade back, and pick up an extra pick around 110, which could go to Robinson. Robinson could also fall, as PFF has a 5th round grade on him. He has off of the field questions in a time when it is not best to have them. If Robinson fell to pick 140, would you take the shot on the upside, and add the rotational rusher Alton Robinson?