When asked what the biggest concern is for the Pittsburgh Steelers roster heading into the 2023 season, the fan base answered in resounding fashion.
The organization has ultimately replaced their entire inside linebacker depth chart this past offseason, out side of one player.
Gone are Myles Jack, Robert Spillane and Devin Bush.
In are Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts.
The only returning linebacker? 2022 NFL Draft 7th Round pick, Mark Robinson.
No one knows what to think of Robinson in his second season. Will he come out and prove he is more than just a college running back trying out a new position? Could he be the versatile piece the defense is looking for?
The majority of those questions won’t be answered anytime soon, but the early returns on Robinson in Organized Team Activities (OTAs) are positive. Most notably the interception he had on Tuesday. Who threw it? While most suggest it was Kenny Pickett, Robinson doesn’t know, nor does he care.
“What’s crazy for me is I only see the helmets and the numbers,” said Robinson. “I couldn’t care less who throws it. I’m here to play against anybody that shows up.”
“It’s all nameless, grey faces.”
Talk about someone who is clearly all-in with Mike Tomlin and how he leads his team. When asked what happened leading up to the pick, Robinson said he was just doing his job. Made a play.
“That was assignment football,” said Robinson. “The ball came to me and I made a play. Opportunities come, and you run with them. It was a ball-aware play. It came to me, and I took advantage of that opportunity.”
For someone who was considered a “flier pick” in the last round of last year’s draft, Robinson realizes the challenges of his current situation. This is a large reason why he never takes for granted the time with the organization and the potential to make plays.
“Any time we get a chance individually, everyone that comes in this locker room knows any time you get a rep on that grass, it’s all gold,” said Robinson. “I treat it as such, and I plan on continuing to do so.”
When you hear some players talk during OTAs, you can hear players echoing what the coaches are telling them throughout the process. In this case, if one player makes a play, they all make a play. Robinson carries that with him every day, even though he doesn’t know what his role with the team will be in 2023.
“Whatever that may be…I don’t know what they’ve got planned,” said Robinson. “Whatever play we get, whatever rep we get, whenever we are in there, we are all in there. That is the mindset.”
If Robinson can show the intelligence, athleticism, and sideline-to-sideline speed the Steelers want/need at the inside linebacker position, he could be just what the defense needs. As stated earlier, that won’t be known until the pads are put on and real plays need to be made. In the meantime, a Robinson interception in OTAs will have to suffice.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.