The Ravens drafted edge Tavius Robinson in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, adding a high upside rusher to groom.
Robinson is a long 6-foot-6 edge rusher out of Ole Miss who hails from Canada. He logged 7.0 sacks last season and forced a FBS leading (tied) five fumbles.
The Ravens hired Chuck "Dr. Rush" Smith as their new outside linebackers coach, and he now has a new toolsy pass rusher to mold.
General Manager Eric DeCosta said his comparison for Robinson is former Raven Za'Darius Smith, who went on to become one of the best pass rushers in the league.
"I think we got a guy who plays very, very hard. [He's] big, you guys will see when you see him – 6'6", 250-260 pounds," DeCosta said. "[He] runs well, very, very physical, long reach. From a comparison standpoint, [he is] probably more like a guy like Za'Darius Smith. [He] can kick inside, can play outside. [He is] physical."
The Ravens like big edge rushers and Robinson could still put more bulk on his 257-pound frame. Baltimore announced him as a linebacker, but one question is what position he'll settle into in the NFL.
He was a stand-up outside linebacker his first year at Ole Miss, but was moved to a hand-in-the-dirt defensive end his final two seasons. Robinson said he's comfortable with both. He said he models his game after Pro Bowl Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby because of his high motor.
Robinson had one sack his first year at Ole Miss in 2020. He upped it to 4.5 in 2021, then broke out with seven last year. Robinson said the game started to slow down last year and he became a better power rusher and run stopper.
"I just feel like I still have so much more room to grow," Robinson said. "I'm a sponge. I like to be coached and become as best as I can at this game."
Robinson grew up in Guelph, Ontario and started playing football at age 10. His uncle played in the CFL for a decade as a defensive back. Robinson's plan was to pursue a career playing in the CFL.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed that plan. Football was cancelled across the country, so Robinson decided to reach out to schools in the United States. He sent out his tape and heard from dozens of schools. He signed with Ole Miss, left a part-time job at 1-800-GOT-JUNK he got to pay for school in Canada (they don't have sports scholarships), and moved to the States a week before fall workouts.
Once in a big program, Robinson's development took off. He got better every year, finishing with a strong final season in which he was voted a team captain.
Robinson is the fourth Canadian already selected in this year's draft, which ties an all-time high.
"It's so significant [to me] because there's so many great players up here [in Canada] who, in my mind, if they were in D-1 schools, they would be in the same position, but it's hard to get that opportunity from Canada," Robinson said.
"It's great to see and I think it will continue to open up more opportunities for Canadian kids, which they deserve because there's so much talent up here. Once that talent really gets tapped into, I think the numbers are just going to rise and rise every year."