Bears Check Out Robinson @ Texas Pro Day..............
Bears' Smith checks out Texas LB Robinson
By Brad Biggs, Tribune reporter 10:31 a.m. CDT, March 20, 2012
The Chicago Bears have not made any noise in free agency since last week and it appears the club has shifted its focus to the April draft.
There still could be some small additions made, but it’s full speed ahead to the draft, where general manager Phil Emery wants to focus on building the future of the organization. To that end, coach Lovie Smith and linebackers coach Bob Babich were on the road Tuesday morning.
Smith and Babich attended the pro day at Texas, a source on the scene told the Tribune, and they were there specifically to work out outside linebacker Keenan Robinson. The 6-3, 242-pound Robinson projects as an outside linebacker in the NFL and probably would fit best on the weak side. He was a second-team All-Big 12 selection the past two seasons and finished with more than 100 tackles each season. He started 39 consecutive games at Texas and also has experience playing on special teams.
Robinson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.79 seconds at the NFL scouting combine and could look to improve on that figure today with the Bears there for a close look. He projects as a potential second- or third-round selection.
“I think I should be an outside linebacker,” Robinson said at the combine. “I don’t mind playing Mike. I don’t mind playing Will or playing on the line of scrimmage as an outside rush linebacker but I think I best project as a Will or Sam linebacker covering tight ends. Either one would be fine for me. It's whatever the team needs. I played all three. I can help any team.”
He believes he’s suited to play the weak side, where the Bears have a perennial Pro Bowl player in Lance Briggs, because he has experience in coverage.
“I'm very comfortable because I’m coming from the pass happy Big 12,” Robinson said. “I covered guys like (Oklahoma State’s Justin) Blackmon. I covered (Oklahoma’s Ryan) Broyles when he was healthy, guys like (Michael) Crabtree. I covered a lot of big time receivers. That really helped me in the big coming that league where passing is key and being able to cover those guys has helped me in coming to the league where tight ends flex out wide and you have big bodies running down the field who can catch and run and have 4.5 speed and the stretch the ball down the field.”
Some thought Robinson might leave school early a year ago but he opted to return and was happy with his decision even though the Longhorns didn’t have their best season.
“No. 1 thing I gained was my degree,” he said. “I got my degree from UT. That’s something I really wanted to do. If I came out. I was going to come back in the spring and summer and get it. The next thing I gained was more experience. Being a student of the game, learning more and taking another year just getting better as a player. I bettered myself as a person. That is really what I gained from staying in college.”
The Bears added Blake Costanzo in free agency but he’s viewed as a special teams player and not someone in the mix for playing time at linebacker. The team needs some depth at the position and could benefit with an infusion of youth. Briggs was drafted for former coach Dick Jauron and the team has not developed many young linebackers under Smith.