The Ravens entered the final day of the NFL draft on Saturday with three picks — Nos. 124 (fourth round), 157 (fifth round) and 199 (sixth round).
They used the first of those selections on Ole Miss edge rusher Tavius Robinson.
The Ravens love their edge rushers, and in Robinson they got a 6-foot-6, 257-pound defender who had 44 total tackles last season, including eight for loss. He also had seven sacks and five forced fumbles, both of which led the team.
Robinson’s seven sacks ranked sixth in the Southeastern Conference, while his five forced fumbles put him in a tie with Houston’s D’Anthony Jones to lead the nation. Robinson, who was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, which is about an hour west of Toronto, had 28 tackles, 4 1/2 tackles for loss and 3 1/2 sacks coming off the bench in 2021.
That he even ended up at Ole Miss was somewhat fortuitous.
Robinson, 24, spent his first two years of college football playing at the University of Guelph and dreaming of the Canadian Football League. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and football was canceled.
“I was sending out my tape everywhere trying to get a school in the states and Ole Miss was one of my first [Southeastern Conference] offers,” he said Saturday.
Universities in Canada also don’t offer full scholarships and Robinson had applied for a job at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? once the pandemic hit to pay for school. Then he got the offer from Ole Miss.
“I was scheduled to go into work and then got Ole Miss offer two days before,” Robinson said. “I quit and was on a plane to Ole Miss the next day.”
Off the field, Robinson twice made the dean’s honor roll at Ole Miss, among other academic honors. On it, he said he has tried to model his game after Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby.
“He has a relentless motor,” Robinson said. “That’s what I tried to model my game off of, never giving up on plays. On top of that, he has great pass rush moves and he’s a great run defender.”
In terms of how he’ll fit with the Ravens, Robinson played his first three years in college football as a stand-up edge rusher and his last two with his hand in the dirt.
“I’m very comfortable with both,” he said. “I’m like a sponge. I like to be coached. There’s a lot of room to grow for sure.”
The Robinson selection comes after the Ravens spent their first two picks on wide receiver and linebacker. Boston College wideout Zay Flowers was taken with the 22nd overall pick on Thursday night. A day later, when it appeared the Ravens might draft a cornerback, they instead took Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson at No. 86 overall.
Mike Preston’s instant analysis: The Ravens selected OLB/DE Tavius Robinson in the fourth round and he appears to be more of a project than an immediate starter. Because of his 6-6, 257-pound frame, he has potential, but he looks awkward at times. He has good hands, but lacks explosion off the ball. In fact, he appears slow, but that’s something the Ravens should be able to correct. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds at the scouting combine, but because he is long and rangy, the Ravens will need to teach Robinson how to keep opposing offensive linemen off his body. The strength in his hands is a good start. There is some raw talent here, but he needs time to develop.
This story will be updated.