Robinson officially made the switch to defense in 2020, but it wasn’t an easy transition. He had already amassed 220 to 234 pounds when he moved from quarterback to receiver. But he knew he would have to add more weight to his 6-5 frame to play a defensive end. So, he met with a dietitian and put together a plan that would eventually enable him to reach 252 pounds.
“It was five meals a day; three main meals and then two healthy fat meals like yogurt,” Robinson said. “It was little things like adding oil and guacamole to salads and things like that, those healthy fats being put in a little bit [of weight]. “
As he reshaped his body, Robinson began learning techniques and basics, initially focusing on the quarterback’s lunge.
“I really wanted to focus on getting passes quickly into the center, because I knew that was what would get me to that point,” he said. “Then I focused on my running game in 2021 because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get here unless I had that with a rush of passes. So [I was] Kind of trying to break it up.”
Bears are excited about Robinson’s capabilities.
“Anytime you can rush through bitterness, that’s a trait you can hang your hat on,” Scout Brendan Rehor said after the draw. “That’s a trait we’re looking for. You can never have too many pass runners, and this kid can do it.
“The athlete stands out. There is only a positive side with this kid, which is what we bet on and what we invested in. The athlete himself, the frame, is a lean guy. He started out as an offensive player…but there is only a positive side with this kid. There is only athletic ability.” There are a lot of things to work with.”
At Senior Powell, Robinson showed he could compete with some of the top odds.
“I’d say there’s some cruelty to him, but this kid can hurry passersby,” Rehor said. “I think he showed that in Senior Powell. That was really where he made, I think, his biggest step where he was [showed he] belongs.”
The Bears rely on their defensive coaches, led by coordinator Alan Williams and defensive line coach Travis Smith, to bring out the best in Robinson.
“We wouldn’t have picked this player if we didn’t believe in our coaching staff, and didn’t see the upside in the player,” general manager Ryan Bowles said after the draft. “We brought a lot of good teachers into this building, so it’s a place that pays off.
“He’s tall, he’s flexible, he can indulge. He’s fairly new to the position, but you’ve seen the flashes. An old mentor of mine told me when it comes to defensive players, appreciate the flashes. You can develop it. If you do it once, you can do it once.” So, we’ve all seen it and I’m excited to see what kind of player he turns into.”