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Arizona Cardinals select Missouri DL Darius Robinson with the 27th overall pick. Grade: A

The Cardinals are light on talent just about everywhere on the roster, and their defensive line is especially, painfully thin. That will change to a degree with the addition of Missouri DL Darius Robinson, who can bully offensive linemen from anywhere on the defensive line. I try to avoid same-school comparisons unless absolutely necessary, but Robinson reminded me so much of Aldon Smith so quickly, the comp stuck. This is a major get for Jonathan Gannon’s defense. 

A three-star recruit at Canton High School in Canton, Michigan, Darius Robinson didn’t play organized football until his junior year. But he still had a couple of pressures as a true freshman in 2019, and worked his way up to First-Team All-SEC in 2023 despite an injury-plagued season. Last year, the 6′ 5⅛”, 285-pound Robinson was good for nine sacks, 42 total pressures, 22 solo tackles, and 22 stops, and he did that all over the defensive line — 81% EDGE, 19% defensive tackle, and 1% nose tackle.

Robinson projects as an ideal every-gap disruptor at the NFL level, and his athletic traits could have him as a plus lineman when his professional career expands.

PLUSES

— Very strong upper body; when Robinson gets into the blocker’s numbers with his hands, he can just collapse his opponent, and he has a great shock move to bring the blocker in and then just shed him aside.

— Freaky wingspan allows him to roll quickly with the inside counter; Robinson can cross your face before you know it.

— Excellent speed to and through the pocket.

— Has a bull-rush with serious potential; Robinson will be a tough go for NFL tackles in power situations. Once he gets a tackle on the track, the tackle is in big trouble.

— Can win everywhere from wide-9 to 3-tech.

— Got it done as a pass-rusher without the help of a lot of blitzes; had several pressures out of three-man fronts.

MINUSES

— Robinson will occasionally get over his skis in open space and just whiff on tackles.

— Needs to be highly aware of pad level and leverage, especially inside, or he’ll lose power battles right off the snap.

— Needs a better plan with his hands to avoid wrestling when he should be penetrating.

— Gets so involved in what’s in front of him that he’ll miss run keys that are a gap over.

I avoid same-school comparisons unless they’re unavoidable. In Robinson’s case, he had me thinking of Aldon Smith right away in the combination of wingspan and play speed. That Robinson generally rolled at 20-20 pounds heavier is a testament to Robinson’s unusual athletic profile for his size. There are things to clean up here, but the raw and refined tools make me think that he may disappear a bit in his rookie season, but over time, he could be a true multi-gap demolition expert.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire