UNITY TWP., Pa. — Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Mark Robinson had one of the big highlights of the final practice of training camp at St. Vincent College on Thursday, snagging an interception on a tipped ball and taking off through the offense for would likely would have been a defensive touchdown.
It took some athletic prowess for Robinson to make the late adjustment to the ball that he did, and then obviously to take off running the other way.
But the biggest reason that No. 93 in gold was running down the sideline with the football was that he started out in the right place at the right time.
“It was a tip, I was in the right place, running to the ball,” Robinson said. “That’s what happens when you run too the ball.”
The ability to go up, make a catch, and run with the ball has always been on Robinson’s resume, for far longer than the linebacker has been a linebacker.
But the being in the right place at the right time part? That’s been a work in progress, and doing it more consistently might be the biggest difference between Year 1 and Year 2.
“It’s understanding,” he said. “A year older, a year wiser. That’s going to happen with time on the side. … I’m more prepared mentally, knowing what to expect. It’s not my first time around. I’m better, man.”
Robinson is still something of a project for the Steelers and with three veteran players signed ahead of him, will likely not have a large role in the defense in 2023. But the Steelers have also provided the Ole Miss product with a trio of new mentors in Kwon Alexander, Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts.
“I’m trying to add something to my game from every one of those guys, man,” Robinson said.
That idea could be the real winner. None of the Steelers’ three inside linebackers are complete players. But if Robinson really does pick from the games of all three, with his athletic profile, he might end up as one.
Former Steelers inside linebacker Vince Williams visited practice earlier this summer and called Robinson his “twin.”
The Steelers certainly hope that Robinson becomes Williams’ twin in one way — a late round pick that blossoms into a starter — but athletically, he’s on another planet. Williams ran a 4.76-second 40-yard dash and posted a meager 1.69 Relative Athletic Score with his testing coming out of Florida State.
Robinson is a far superior athlete. If he can actually pull from the games of his new ILB room brethren, he has the potential to be even better than Williams’ twin.