General manager Joe Douglas replaced the extra linebacker that he’d sacrificed when he signed quarterback Josh Johnson on August 4 (Brendon White), picking up Edmond Robinson in favor of wide receiver Matt Cole.
The obvious connection here stems from defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich. Robinson finished his 2020 campaign with the Atlanta Falcons interim DC after beginning the calendar year in the XFL.
The former seventh-rounder out of Newberry College is a bit of a journeyman. The Minnesota Vikings first drafted him, but after two seasons there he actually made a momentary stop with the Jets in 2017 before joining the Arizona Cardinals and Falcons for brief stints.
Robinson was more influential with the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) league and the Houston Roughnecks of the XFL.
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Scouting Edmond Robinson
Aside from the clear link with Ulbrich, Robinson is a veteran scheme fit at a position that Gang Green is extremely shallow at, weakside (WILL) linebacker.
Although Douglas drafted two safeties to duke it out at this position, Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen, there’s very little natural experience here. Even third-year professional Blake Cashman only has 11 NFL games under his belt, and those appearances came as a middle linebacker in a 3-4 system, not an outside linebacker in a 4-3.
Robinson has played the position and offers some of the traits that Robert Saleh and the Jets GM have been targeting throughout the offseason. Speed, length and athleticism.
His arm length ranked in the 94th percentile back in 2015 with a vertical jump in the 78th and a 40-yard dash in the 76th. The linebacker’s most useful defensive skill sets are on the blitz (see below) and in coverage.
The 4-3 outside linebacker has definitely struggled with reading blocking schemes in run defense, but the Jets may plan to use him as a substitute on passing downs or as a leader in special teams.
At the very least, Robinson could help teach younger players like Sherwood, Nasirildeen and undrafted free agent Camilo Eifler in training camp. He’s a hard worker and special teams contributor that showed a willingness to showcase his abilities in both the AAF and XFL.
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Matt Cole Gone, Fallout of Robinson Move
The immediate fallout of the Robinson signing is obviously Cole. The former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver and special teamer was without a doubt a Mike LaFleur-Saleh recommendation, but he never really had any shot of making the roster in this deep positional group.
Most expect four Jets linebackers to make this roster fairly easily, from veterans C.J. Mosley and Jarrad Davis to rookies Sherwood and Nasirildeen. After that, the opportunity is there for the taking assuming the franchise keeps a minimum of five LBs, maybe six.
Robinson joins Eifler, Dawkins and Phillips, bearing similarities to all three. These guys are all upside-athletes with a background in special teams and 4-3 outside linebacker. The outlier is Cashman, a former Mike Maccagnan draft pick with injury woes and a 3-4 history.
It will be interesting to see which of these candidates make the 53-man group unscathed.