Dolphins can’t swing and miss with another developmental pass rusher | Opinion

As appetizing as the aroma of smothered pork chops might be, the Miami Dolphins’ 2024 first-round pick smells a lot like the team’s troublesome first-round selection of Charles Harris.

Much like Harris, the 22nd pick in the 2017 NFL draft, whose career in Miami fizzled out after three unproductive seasons with the Dolphins, Demeioun “Pork Chop” Robinson is a physical freak whose production at Penn State didn’t match his measurables.

He’s viewed as a “pro-ready pass rusher,” a demon coming off the edges because of his explosive first step, and ability to time the snap succinctly.

But where are the sacks?

“For us, [sacks are] an important part, but we’ve always talked about the ability to disrupt the passer,” Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier said. “His disruption numbers are all very high.”

That’s why Robinson’s a boom-or-bust, developmental project who needs to work on becoming an edge setter in the run game, and must vary his pass rushing moves.

That sounds just like Harris, who never shed the developmental label before being traded to the Atlanta Falcons for a 2021 seventh-round pick.

“I feel like the things he can do is just bring [out] more cheat codes that I have, more things to my toolbox,” Robinson said when discussing being coached by Anthony Weaver, a former NFL pass rusher who is Miami’s new defensive coordinator. “There’s things that a lot of people say that I don’t have. I feel like I know I’ve been working on it and I feel like he can elevate my game even more.”

After three seasons Miami dumped Harris because he didn’t live up to his potential.


Hopefully that won’t be the case for Robinson, whom the Dolphins need to become an immediate contributor while Jaelan Phillips (Achilles tendon) and Brandley Chubb (ACL) rehab their serious injuries, which could keep them sidelined for the season’s first month or two.

That means Robinson and Shaq Barrett, a free agent addition, will need to hold down the edges until then, and possibly carve out a role for themselves in a four edge rotation.

Miami Dolphins linebacker <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Chop Robinson;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Chop Robinson</a> speaks during a press conference at the Baptist Health Training Complex on Friday, April 26, 2024 in Miami Gardens, Fla. Robinson was the Dolphins’ first-round 21st pick during Thursday’s NFL Draft. MATIAS J. OCNER/

Clearly coaching is supposed to help young players like Robinson improve, and the 21-year-old knows exactly what he needs to work on, which are his inconsistent hands, which prevent him from turning pressures into sacks.

He produced 60 tackles, 11.5 sacks and eight total quarterback hits in the 35 games he played during his three collegiate seasons.

“I know I had the speed and the bend, but sometimes I forget to use my hands,” Robinson said when asked why his Penn State production didn’t match his measurables. “That’s something I’ve been working on this whole offseason, and I feel very confident because I’ve been working on this so much repeatedly and I know it’s going to be natural when it comes time to put my hands to use.”


In an NFL draft that needs to replenish the Dolphins talent base in the trenches, Miami passed on taking one of the draft’s best defensive tackles [Illinois Jer’Zhan Newton, who is still available in the second round], every cornerback and safety in the draft class, and offensive linemen Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton and Duke’s Graham Barton, and they did it for a pass rusher whose body of work is questionable.

“They valued a third edge over an interior offensive lineman. But can he become more of a finisher versus a creator of pressure,” one NFL executive said about Robinson. “The Jets and Bills have gone hard at having 2, 3, 4 edge guys for depth, so I can see why they go with trait players like Robinson.”

It was the 4.48 40-yard dash time, the 10-foot, 8-inch broad jump and the 34.5 inch vertical jump that sold the Dolphins.

Robinson, who was universally viewed as a top 25 talent in the 2024 draft, presents the elite measurables the NFL hasn’t seen since Micah Parsons and Myles Garrett were in the process.

Those are big names to be compared to, and the Dolphins are hopeful he’ll come close to what those two elite pass rushers have accomplished.

If he comes close to their production, it’s a win for Miami.

Dolphins fans better just hope he’s not another Harris.