Top Dolphins draft pick Chop Robinson motivated by losing two siblings as a child

MIAMI GARDENS — There’s more to the unique story of Chop Robinson, the Miami Dolphins’ top pick in the 2024 draft, than his incredible athletic traits, quick first step off the line of scrimmage or high pressure rate on the edge for Penn State.

Robinson, whose real first name is Demeioun, was given the “Chop” moniker because he was originally nicknamed “Pork Chop” at birth since he was born 14 pounds.

“Got older, slimmed down, took the pork out, kept the chop,” Robinson said, wearing a blinged-out chain that read ‘Chop’ with an ax that resembles his sack celebration at his introductory press conference Friday afternoon.

He also grew up as one of 10 siblings in his family. And he’s motivated from losing two of them along his journey to the first round of the NFL draft, selected by the Dolphins Thursday in their first selection in the first round in three years when he was picked at No. 21.

“Losing my two siblings, I knew that, no matter what adversity is thrown my way, nothing could make me feel worse than me losing my two siblings,” Robinson said. “I always looked at it as a positive thing, just coming out there and give everything I got in what I do, and it just keeps me motivated because I know, no matter how I’m feeling or what’s thrown my way, I can face it. Because I faced something that a lot of people would’ve been broken down, but I looked at it as a positive thing.”

Robinson remembers where he was when he learned of each. He was in the first grade when he lost a sister.

“I was actually in my room when I found out it happened,” he recalled, “and my mom was just telling me that she went to sleep. And I didn’t understand because I was so young.”

He was a freshman in high school when an older brother died.

“I was actually playing a game,” Robinson said, “and then I heard my mom screaming when they came and they told her. I just ran upstairs and then seen the tears and heard the news.

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“I’m doing it for them two. They keep me motivated every single day, and that’s who I’m doing it for.”

Robinson was one of 10 total brothers and sisters — six boys and four girls. He’s the third-youngest.

“It was crazy. It was always fun, though,” he said of growing up in his family. “You can never be bored. You always bother another sibling. One thing, you got to get to the kitchen table as fast as you can, because some people got to eat on the stairs if you don’t make it to the kitchen table.”

He quipped that’s where he got his quick first step that’s seen on the football field now.

Since Robinson got the call from the Dolphins a little after 10:30 p.m. Thursday, he celebrated with friends and family at his draft party the rest of the night, got on a flight Friday morning to South Florida, took in the warm weather and has toured Dolphins headquarters, meeting his coaches and teammates, including Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb, face-to-face before taking questions from the media in the afternoon.

“It’s crazy. I’ve been working for this since I was 5 years old,” Robinson said. “I’ve been playing football my whole life and just put in everything that I’ve worked for. I put in all the work. I sacrificed a lot of things to get here. But it’s just the first step. Once you get here, you got to stay here.”

Robinson was the second Penn State Nittany Lion drafted in 2024. Tackle Olu Fashanu went to the New York Jets with the 11th pick, which could form a matchup of college teammates for years to come in the AFC East rivalry.

“It’s going to be great,” Robinson said. “I think it would just be like another day at practice, going against Olu in a game.”

With his freakish athleticism, Robinson has drawn comparisons to fellow Penn State edge rusher Micah Parsons, who is already one of the best in the NFL three years into his pro career. Although he didn’t cross paths with him in Happy Valley, Robinson said he’s interacted with Parsons about 10 times with the NFL star often returning to campus.

In Miami for the first time in his life, Robinson could probably figure out some things to do from his defensive coordinator at Penn State, Manny Diaz, who was head coach for the Miami Hurricanes from 2019 to 2021 and was defensive coordinator at UM for three seasons before that.