Adrian Robinson is a nice looking prospect. I happen to have history with him and can speak on his character and work ethic having known him when he played for George Chaump at Harrisburg High School. He struggled academically until his junior year and really focused to qualify. If my memory serves me correct, he registered 21 sacks as a senior for the Cougars. One of the most dominated pass rushers I’ve ever seen at the high school level and had his grades been better, I think he’d have ended up at a much bigger school. Nice kid to boot.
Robinson really came on as a sophomore under defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio and had 13 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. He also had five forced fumbles that season. At the time, I thought we might be looking at a future first or second round guy with his explosion and pass rush ability. Last season he took a step back and his production came down; only posting 4.5 sacks. He’s also a very solid special teamer and has blocked a few kicks in his time.
Against Penn State he made a nice inside spin move to get Robert Bolden out of the pocket and Tahir Whitehead came and knocked Bolden out. He did a nice job of moving through traffic to the ball, something he’s always been good at. Actually grabbed the elusive Silas Redd for a TFNG on one play sifting through garbage. Had a nice pass deflection, but ended up being a completion. He was being held constantly in the game and finally it caught up with Penn State as it brought back a TD pass.
Robinson is a quick-twitch athlete that really moves well in space and is light on his feet. He closes well and is a solid tackler. He has also shown the ability to drop and cover. I see him as a 3-4 outside ‘backer at the next level.
Tahir Whitehead had a heck of a game against Penn State as well and definitely added some plays to his highlight reel. I saw some really good closing speed out of him and I think he really surprised the Penn State offense with it. On one play he shot off the edge and caught Robert Bolden off guard, a quarterback who can certainly move himself; and got a sack and forced fumble on the play. The very next series he came in on the first play and forced another incomplete pass hitting Bolden hard when he was flushed from the pocket by Adrian Robinson. Whitehead looked very nice in pursuit all game long and had an additional tackle for loss coming up and filling a gap. He only finished the game with four tackles, but watching it you’d think he had 14.
Whitehead isn’t a big guy mind you. He’s only listed at 6-foot-2, 228 pounds. He is a pretty big hitter though and plays with his hair on fire. This is a kid who was actually recruited out of high school as a safety/running back, so he’s definitely an athlete. I am a big fan of productivity and he’s been putting up tackles for loss consistently as a starter. Now that Steve Addazio is in town, he’s being use more aggressively in the pass rush and has two sacks in three games as well, matching his career total. If he runs a solid 40-yard dash, he could be a kid to watch.
Unfortunately tight end Evan Rodriguez didn’t have a big game as I really wanted to see him in action (only caught two balls for 14 yards), but he’s definitely a player who will get attention on draft day.
I don’t know Evan personally; however I do know his high school coach, the legendary Vin Ascolese very well and from what I hear the kid is as high character as they come. Rodriguez played quarterback and safety for Ascolese at North Bergen before committing to West Virginia. It’s always good to have some history on these prospects and what kind of people they are.
Rodriguez is a prospect that really intrigues me as he’s a bit of an H-Back type and I think certain teams could really fall in love with his skill set. There are other tight ends out there that go about the same size as he does like Nick Provo at Syracuse, but they’re simply not the same type of player.
Evan is a smooth tight end and runner. He has solid speed and exhibits good body control and balance. He’s been used as a lead blocker at Temple and has been solid in that role. I also think he’s a guy that could be moved around the field and create some mismatches. From what I’ve seen of him over the past two years at Temple I’m not valuing him very high right now, but I do think he’s a kid who will hear his name called. When I watch him for some reason I think of former Rutgers tight end L.J. Smith a bit. Not as fast or athletic, but there are similarities.