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Versatile Robinson Ready Where Needed

Posted May 3, 2012

Head coach Mike Shanahan coached linebacker Keenan Robinson at the Senior Bowl and was impressed by his positional flexibility and speed. Robinson thinks he has a lot to offer on defense and special teams.

When the Redskins selected linebacker Keenan Robinson in the fourth round of the draft (119th overall), they added depth at a number of positions.

At the University of Texas, Robinson played in the 3-4 defensive scheme for three years, moving between the inside and outside positions.

He carried his versatility through the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, in order to attract as many suitors as possible.

"I trained for the inside and the outside linebacker so I really didn’t narrow my options," he explained during the media conference call.  "But I made sure that I was prepared for any position that any team wanted me to play."

Head coach Mike Shanahan suggested in his post-draft press conference that Robinson will train at the inside linebacker position.  He could be the eventual successor to London Fletcher at that inside position, but Shanahan was unwilling to limit his versatility just yet.

"He is a guy who could play both," he said.  "He's just a quality young man and we just liked the way he practices and how he handled himself. We liked his speed and we think he can fit in well."

In college, he played on both the coverage and return teams for kicks and punts.  His quickness and nose for the football could make him a key special teams contributor in 2012.

Robinson knows that he'll have to earn playing time, but thinks he has a place on defense in coverage.  At the NFL Combine, Robinson ran a sub-4.8 40-yard dash, among the fastest for linebackers.

"I feel like I’m one of the top coverage linebackers out there," he said.  "I can cover tight ends. I can cover backs. I can do it all."

He continued: "I think that covering guys like [Dallas Cowboys tight end] Jason Witten and things like that will be a great chance, and I think I’ll be ready for it."

In the mean time, Robinson is focused on the things he can improve.

"I’ve been working on using my hands. You need to get off blocks," he explained.  "Those are the two things I’ve really been focusing on in training. I think those will take me pretty far."

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