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Breaking Down DE Janarius Robinson

A closer look at the Vikings’ 4th round defensive end

The Vikings drafted defensive end Janarius Robinson with the 134th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. This was the remaining draft pick sent to the Vikings in the Stefon Diggs trade. Robinson was ranked 162nd on The Athletic’s consensus big board as the 20th ranked defensive end.


Robinson has prototypical size, length, and athletic traits for an edge rusher. 25 bench press reps with 35.25” arms is very impressive- should be graded higher.

In an era where NFL teams prefer to mold athletes into NFL players, Florida State edge rusher Janarius Robinson should have a captive audience. Few players in the class have his size, length, and speed combination.

During the Seminoles’ Pro Day, Robinson demonstrated his strength with 25 bench press reps. Although that alone isn’t mind-blowing, considering how high he has to lift the weight with his 86 1/4″ arms adds some much-needed context. - Oliver Hodgkinson, Pro Football Network

College Grades and Stats

Robinson wasn’t as productive at Florida State as he could have been, for a variety of reasons including how he was used, the amount of snaps he had, and the development of his skillset.

College Football Reference

Pro Football Focus
Pro Football Focus

Scouting Reports

Traits-based edge defender with the potential to play standing or as an even-front end. Studying tape can be a frustrating exercise, as the same player doesn’t always show up from game to game. He’s an agile athlete with rare length and has the traits necessary to make plays on the next level, but his wingspan often goes to waste due to a lack of skilled hand usage, and he seems content to put it in cruise control in certain situations. He has the physical tools and athletic ability necessary to play in the league, but his ceiling and floor could be defined by his motor and willingness to put the work in that is necessary for improvement. - Lance Zierlein

Florida State defensive end Janarius Robinson was a 4-star recruit that started for three seasons in college. While his production was modest, the entire Seminoles defense has underachieved as the coaching staff struggled to develop talent and use players to their strengths. With that said, the flashes from Robinson are exciting. Robinson has long arms, heavy hands, and a stocky build that was engineered to play on the edge in the NFL. He is a powerful run defender, smart processor, and has plenty of tools to become a more effective pass rusher. He has some really exciting flashes rushing the passer where his length, flexibility, rush variety, effort, and hand power shine. There is room for Robinson to round out his game by learning how to consistently apply his immense physical gifts on the field and deploy his rush plan quicker. Robinson has the skill set to start as a 5-technique in a 3-4 front but could very well also serve as a base end in a 4-3. Robinson is the type of prospect that screams better pro than college player as he gets the right coaching to help unleash his physical tools.

First-Step Explosiveness: Robinson is fluid out of his stance and he anticipates the snap well. His initial steps gain considerable depth and he does well to use them to set up his rush. While I wouldn’t label him as explosive, he’s quick off the ball.

Flexibility: Robinson is more loose throughout his frame than what is expected for his stature. He is fluid enough to press tight angles and rush with tilt. No, he isn’t bendy like Gumby, but he has enough flexibility to complement his length and power to corner the outside hip of an offensive tackle if he can grease the angle.

Hand Counters: Robinson executes with busy hands and good rush variety. He has a variety of club combos, a rip move, scissors move, and he loves ghost rushes. He knows how to swipe and clear his pads and rarely gets hung on contact due to tardy and unresponsive hands.

Length: Robinson has extremely long arms and he knows how to use them. He does well to establish his hands and play with extension against the run, often tasked with defending multiple gaps. He maintains good separation as a pass rusher and knows when to get his hands up and impact throwing lanes. He was extremely effective at blocking field goals at Florida State.

Hand Power: Robinson features heavy and violent hands that deliver devastating blows. When he gets his hands placed, it’s tough for blockers to clear his clamps and he controls reps. He has all the pop needed to shuck blocks, clear his pads, and dictate reps.

Run Defending: Robinson does a great job of using his length and playing with extension against the run. He has a stout anchor and the power to squeeze gaps. He showcases good power at the point of attack and he isn’t easily moved out of his run fit. Robinson processes well and understands how to combat blocks and how to respond to pullers.

Effort: Robinson plays with consistent energy on every snap. He is willing to pursue and chase plays down from distance. He’s never content being blocked and battles to clear contact through the whistle.

Football IQ: Robinson has good vision and processing skills. He identifies blocks and generally has correct responses. There are times I want him to deploy his rush plan quicker, but that could be more a product of the scheme at Florida State.

Lateral Mobility: Robinson has sufficient lateral mobility but he isn’t exactly explosive. His mental processing skills, length, and effort help make up for any mobility he is missing. Robinson doesn’t always appear comfortable in space, although his effort is strong.

Versatility: Florida State played Robinson in so many different roles including 4-3 end, 5-technique, on the interior as a pass rusher, and occasionally in a stand-up role. At the next level, he’s probably best suited to play 5-technique. Robinson is a terrific run defender and has room to grow as a pass rusher, especially if he fully embraces the power components of rushing the passer. - Joe Marino, The Draft Network

One thing that stands out when Robinson plays is that he’s always around the football. He does an outstanding job shedding blocks in the run game and setting the edge. Robinson seldom gets beat on outside runs, setting a firm and physical edge to force cutbacks on the front side of run plays. Blessed with other-worldly length and plus power, Robinson is a tough man to counteract at the point of attack. He uses his long arms to reach out and dislodge the football from opposing quarterbacks in the pocket. He does a sound job working the outside track with the ability to extend his arms to gain an advantage against offensive linemen. Despite standing at 6-foot-5, Robinson plays with a low pad level maintaining leverage in both the run and pass game. Robinson is technical with his feet and uses them well to complement his hand usage when rushing the passer. When waiting for a play to develop in front of him, he has the patience to maintain gap integrity. Robinson could be a project for an NFL team as most of his pass-rushing ability is very raw without much of a developed plan. He lacks hip and ankle flexibility to turn and run on the outside track and instead relies solely on his ability to convert speed to power. Regardless, he’s a solid run stopper who has improved every year at Florida State and still has some intriguing raw tools to sharpen. - The NFL Draft Bible

Positives: Tall, athletic defensive end who flashes ability. Quick off the snap, resilient and breaks down well. Easily moves about the field, displays good change-of-direction skills, and works his hands. Shows the ability to rush the edge standing over tackle and is fast getting up the field.

Negatives: Possesses a tall, thin build and gets easily controlled at the point. Marginally productive at the college level and really wasn’t much of a factor. Possesses more of a short burst of speed than the ability to sustain and pursue the action.

Analysis: Robinson flashed ability at the college level yet never put together a complete game or elevated his play. He’s a tall, lanky defensive end with growth potential and athleticism, but he must physically mature and, more than anything else, start making plays on the field. - Oliver Hodgkinson, Pro Football Network

College Film


Bottom Line

Robinson has the size, length, and athletic ability to be among the best edge rushers in the NFL. And looking at Robinson’s tape, you can see the of flashes of dominance and power you normally see among the top defensive ends, but there are inconsistencies and the overall production is not the same.

However, it is also apparent that the way he was used, and the coaching at Florida State did

him no favors, and may have been a significant factor in his underachieving relative to his talent and natural gifts. Looking at his tape, Robinson played left defensive end, right defensive end, 5-tech in a 3-man front, coverage as an outside linebacker, and was sometimes standing, and other times with his hand in the dirt. And he was also part of a rotation that resulted in his being on the sideline seemingly every other series. Such a disjointed program undoubtedly was a disservice to his development, and has led to more than one evaluator predicting that he will be a better pro than college defensive end, given his natural gifts and better coaching.

Robinson already shows the strength and power to overwhelm tackles and defend the run, but could use to refine aspects of his technique, add more moves to his pass rushing toolkit, and come with more of a plan of attack each and every play. Pairing Robinson’s physical gifts with Andre Patterson’s coaching, while allowing him to focus on one position, could unleash what has been missing in Robinson’s game at FSU in a hurry: more consistency and play-making. In fact, of all the Vikings’ later round draft picks, Robinson looks the most likely to make a significant jump to impact player early in his Vikings’ career. I would not be surprised to see him earn a significant number of rotational reps as a rookie, and win a starting job by year two. He has a very high ceiling, and lands in an excellent position to reach that ceiling in short order if he works hard and takes well to coaching.


What is Janarius Robinson’s ceiling in the NFL?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Perennial Pro Bowl caliber starter
    (234 votes)
  • 48%
    Above average starter
    (530 votes)
  • 17%
    Average starter
    (193 votes)
  • 2%
    Below average starter
    (26 votes)
  • 6%
    Good rotational player
    (70 votes)
  • 2%
    Average rotational player
    (24 votes)
  • 1%
    Below average rotational player
    (11 votes)
1088 votes total Vote Now