Unpacking Future Packers: No. 36, Missouri DL Darius Robinson

The Unpacking Future Packers Countdown is a countdown of 100 prospects that could be selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2024 NFL draft.

The Green Bay Packers have invested heavily in the defensive line during the past two NFL Drafts. Brian Gutekunst selected Devonte Wyatt in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft and drafted Lukas Van Ness in the first round the following year. Along with those two first-rounders Gutekunst has selected Kingsley Enagbare, Colby Wooden and Karl Brooks.

With those young pieces in place alongside Kenny Clark, Rashan Gary, Preston Smith and TJ Slaton, the Packers have the makings of a formidable defensive line for first-year defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley. 

A player that could help take that group to the next level is Darius Robinson. The Missouri defensive lineman checks in at No. 36 in the Unpacking Future Packers Countdown. 

A three-star recruit out of Michigan, Robinson enjoyed a breakout season in 2022, recording 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. This past season, Robinson recorded 43 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. 

“D-Rob selflessly slid over to defensive end to round out the only position group that truly had question marks entering the season,” Parker Gillam, the Missouri beat writer for, said. “That allowed the pass rush to become a strength rather than a liability, as Robinson got used to playing in more space, he and Johnny Walker Jr. formed a formidable duo off the edge. He was a consistent producer that was effective in both pass rush and run defense, but perhaps more so than anything else he was a leader for this team.”

There are so many things that go into evaluating a player. What a player brings inside a locker room, leadership qualities, football instincts, and passion for the game are some of those things that don’t quite get the fanfare that athletic testing does. While Robinson may not have turned heads with his athletic testing, he likely wowed teams during the interview process.

“As a football player, D-Rob checks all the boxes,” Gillam said. “He loves the game, has great power, is versatile, sneaky quick, violent with his hands and physical at the point of attack. I will always argue that D-Rob somehow held even more worth for this team as a leader. Cody Schrader led by example. Brady Cook led through his “chip on the shoulder” mindset and comeback story.

But, D-Rob was the vocal leader of this team. He led most of the team warm-ups, attended media days and was always thrown in front of the podium during the season. He did all of it with a smile almost permanently plastered to his face. You could tell he was a guy who was truly enjoying the sport every week, and he would give anything to see his program win. In covering the team, we heard all about how big of a presence (literally and figuratively) D-Rob was in the locker room, and I’d imagine that the team wouldn’t have gotten as far as it did without his uplifting, steadying presence.”

Robinson has powerful, active hands that jolt offensive linemen. If he doesn’t win with his first-step quickness, he has the power to blast through offensive linemen. When he wins the corner he has the closing burst to track down the quarterback. The Missouri defensive linemen has a deep bag of tricks to get after the quarterback and recorded 42 pressures to go along with his 8.5 sacks this past season. 

“He has a unique combination of power and speed,” Gillam said. “It isn’t necessarily breakneck, open-field speed, but in close quarters, I saw plenty of offensive tackles be somewhat surprised at the twitch D-Rob has off the line. With the strength and experience of playing at defensive tackle, Robinson knows exactly what to do when he gets his hands on you, so the opposing tackles generally lost as soon as they were half a step behind. He’s got violent hands, an endless motor and does not usually miss when he gets his hands on the quarterback.”

Robinson uses his length to help keep himself clean and detach from blocks. He’s alert and shows a radar for the football. His blend of power and quickness helps him disrupt the action in the backfield. He can be a wrecking ball. Over the past two seasons, Robinson recorded 19.5 tackles for loss and 36 run stops. 

“His experience of playing defensive tackle means that you have a potential run-stuffer on the edge in his own way,” Gillam said. “He’s never going to shy away from any form of contact, meaning you can play the guy on every down. He’s worked out at both tackle and end at the Senior Bowl, so it’s going to all come down to how a team evaluates him and what their needs are.”

Fit with the Packers

With his power, initial quickness, instincts, and experience moving across the defensive line, Robinson has the makings of a disruptive force. On top of all those things, he’s a high-character prospect that coaches will likely be pounding the table for on draft night. 

“Maturity and versatility,” Gillam said. “Regarding the former, D-Rob is a seasoned football player in every sense of the phrase, and he’s seen it all on and off the field. As I said, he approached every presser with a smile, was one of the main leaders of the team and also did plenty of great work in the Columbia community. I’d imagine that Robinson will become a fan favorite rather quickly, and his personality is infectious in the locker room. Regarding the latter, he has quality experience in playing both defensive tackle and defensive end in the SEC, something that very few players have ever been able to say. The ability to have D-Rob step in and fill the depth chart out at either spot is enticing for general managers, and he’s got the potential to excel at both in the future.”

The Packers don’t have a pressing need to add another piece to the defensive line. However, a team can never have enough quality pieces up front. Robinson can play on the edge or kick inside. He can generate pressure and was a disruptive force against the run. 

The Packers own four picks on Day 2 of the draft and with the tools that Robinson possesses, he could be a potential target as the Packers look to create a dominant defensive line for Hafley. Play on the edge or kick him inside, it doesn’t matter, Robinson is a player who has shown he can dominate from either spot.  

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire