Buccaneers Projected to Pick Pass Rusher Compared to Micah Parsons

Chop Robinson

Getty Penn State defensive end Demioun "Chop" Robinson.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could land a game-changing pass rusher in the 2024 NFL draft.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Field Yates have Penn State linebacker Demeioun “Chop” Robinson going to the Buccaneers with the No. 26 overall pick in a combined mock draft from the two draft experts released on April 15.

In the run-up to the draft, Robinson has drawn comparisons to some of the NFL’s elite pass rushers — including three-time NFL All-Pro Micah Parsons and 2023 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Myles Garrett.

“Tampa Bay has primary needs at edge rusher and on the interior offensive line,” Yates wrote. “Robinson had modest college production (4.0 sacks in 2023), but his first-step quickness and effort level are undeniable. He’ll be a more productive pro than college player.”

Chop Robinson’s Potential is Undeniable

Robinson, 6-foot-3 and 254 pounds, ran a stunning, 4.48-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

Nicknamed “Pork Chop” — later shortened to just “Chop” — because he weighed 11 pounds at birth, Robinson played his first college football season in his home state at the University of Maryland in 2021 before transferring to Penn State for his final two seasons.

Robinson was a third-team Associated Press All-American and All-Big Ten pick in 2023 despite modest stats — 15 tackles, 4.0 sacks. 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 forced fumbles. He also missed two games because of a wrist injury.

“Edge defender who offers the type of elite athleticism we’ve seen from players like Micah Parsons and Myles Garrett,” wrote NFL analyst Lance Zierlein. “Robinson might not be as fast as Parsons, but he’s close. He’s ultra-twitchy with the explosiveness to get on top of blockers and overwhelm them in an instant. However, he will need to level up his hand skills and attack angles to reach his potential against NFL tackles.

“Robinson’s electric athletic traits alone should give him a floor as a good NFL starter. If he crafts a rush approach and learns to string moves/counters together, he could reach his ceiling as a destructive force capable of forcing teams to game plan around him.”

In their final collegiate seasons, Parsons had 57 tackles and 5.0 sacks at Penn State in 2019 while Garrett had 33 tackles and 8.5 sacks at Texas A&M in 2016.

Buccaneers Might Be One Edge Rusher Away From Greatness

The Buccaneers have a distinct need to shore up their edge rushers in 2024 and might be just one key piece away from having an elite defensive front.

Tampa Bay took two defensive linemen in its first three picks in the 2023 NFL draft — Pittsburgh defensive tackle Calijah Kancey in the first round at No. 19  overall and Louisville outside linebacker YaYa Diaby in the third round.

The two rookies combined for 11.5 sacks in 2023, with Diaby leading the Buccaneers with 7.5 sacks. Adding an elite pass rusher opposite Diaby could be the key to winning a fourth consecutive NFC South division title and beyond in 2024.

PFF’s Dalton Wasserman identified an edge rusher as Tampa Bay’s top need headed into the 2024 NFL draft.

“Shaq Barrett was the only Buccaneers edge defender who graded out above 64.0 last season,” Wasserman wrote. “He’s now in Miami, leaving a massive hole in Tampa Bay, where multiple first-round picks have yet to make a significant impact. The team could be in play for a pass rusher in the first round.”