The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted lineback Mark Robinson in the seventh round out of Ole Miss in the 2022 NFL Draft, and Robinson recently sat down with Missi Matthews to discuss his experience in Pittsburgh so far. Robinson told Matthews that so far he’s mostly worked as an inside linebacker, the position he played at Ole Miss after transitioning from running back, but he’s working to do whatever it takes to see the field.
“For me, it’s just getting in the playbook, learning the stuff, being comfortable getting ready to play. Just working hard everyday to be the player that they need me to be, whatever that is whether it’s inside outside. But, yeah, I’ve been working on the inside position, learning all the ins and outs, different terminology, how we like to do things around here,” Robinson said.
It’s not surprising at all to hear Robinson has been working mostly as an inside linebacker. He’s not very experienced on the defensive side of the ball, with just one full season where he worked as an inside linebacker and was very productive, racking up 91 total tackles. In addition, he doesn’t really have the build the Steelers like out of their outside linebackers, as he’s listed at 5’11″ and 235 lbs. (which is very close to ILB Devin Bush’s listed height and weight of 5’11″, 234 lbs.).
While the Steelers don’t have a ton of depth at OLB with just free agent acquisition Genard Avery and Derrek Tuszka backing up T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, along with UDFAs T.D. Moultry and Tyree Johnson, Robinson will join an ILB room that features Bush, Myles Jack, Robert Spillane, Buddy Johnson, Ulysees Gilbert III, and Marcus Allen, among others. However, ILB was a weak spot for Pittsburgh last year, and a big reason why they got gashed on the ground throughout the season. Bringing in Jack should help, but adding someone like Robinson who was productive in college despite limited experience at the position is intriguing.
While his path to playing time his rookie year is likely through special teams, if he can stick and become the tackle machine he was in college, he could very well be a steal for the Steelers in the last round of the draft.
To make the roster, Robinson will have to prove his value on special teams and that he deserves a roster spot over someone like Gilbert III, who hasn’t made a huge defensive impact but has been a special teams contributor since getting drafted in 2019. Watching Robinson’s development as a LB as he gains more experience with each rep is something that I’ll be watching during the preseason.