The first thing that stands out about new Eagles defensive end Janarius Robinson is his size.
“You’ll see him out there,” Nick Sirianni said. “He is big. He is a big man.”
That checks out.
Robinson, whom the Eagles signed off the Vikings practice squad on Tuesday, was on the NovaCare Complex field Thursday. The 6-foot-5, 258-pound Robinson wore No. 59 and looked just as big as advertised.
But away from the field is where Robinson has the most ground to make up.
“I think the biggest challenge is learning the playbook,” Robinson said on Thursday, standing by his new locker stall. “I jumped on that as soon as I got here. I’ve been learning each and every day. That’s my biggest focus right now.”
The Eagles signed Robinson the same day they put veteran Derek Barnett on Injured Reserve. Barnett suffered a torn ACL in the opener in Detroit and is out for the season.
For now, the Eagles will likely lean on 2021 sixth-round pick Tarron Jackson, who had an impressive training camp this summer. But eventually Robinson could find himself in the mix.
There’s a lot to like about Robinson. The Vikings liked him enough to draft him in the fourth round out of Florida State last year.
But Robinson missed his entire rookie season after suffering an injury in training camp. He spent his rookie season rehabbing and trying to learn everything he could from his veteran teammates. But despite being a fourth-round pick a year ago, Robinson failed to make the Vikings’ 53-man roster, instead signing to their practice squad.
“Of course I felt like I had a shot,” Robinson said. “I still felt like I had a shot to make that roster over there at the Vikings. I’m just interesting and focused on the Philadelphia Eagles right now.”
It would be easy to see the Robinson signing, remember the Eagles are playing the Vikings and think that’s the reason they signed him, to gather intel. The fact that the Eagles are playing on Monday Night Football allowed the Eagles to sign Robinson. The rule states “a Practice Squad player may not sign an NFL Player Contract with his next Club’s opponent later that 4:00pm, New York time, on the sixth day preceding the game.” So the Eagles just got this move in.
Of course, there will probably be some questions asked by the Eagles’ coaching staff but that’s not why they signed him. Plus, whenever a player gets signed off another team’s practice squad, he’s guaranteed a three-week salary.
But the Eagles signed Robinson because they like him.
“Big man,” Sirianni said. “We liked his tape coming out. We saw an opportunity there.”
After signing Robinson, the Eagles have added three 2021 draft picks in the last two weeks:
3-88: RB Trey Sermon (from 49ers)
4-133: QB Ian Book (from Saints)
4-134: Janarius Robinson (from Vikings)
Robinson has a lot of intriguing physical tools, including a wingspan of 86 1/4 inches, which ranked in the 97th percentile.
As he joins the Eagles, Robinson already knows a few of his former teammates. He played with DE Josh Sweat, DT Marvin Wilson and WR Auden Tate at Florida State.
Wilson and Robinson spent a lot of time together with the Seminoles.
“He brings so much physicality,” Wilson said. “He’s definitely going to bring pass rush ability, he’s very quick, big, long. But at the same time very smart. He’s very football savvy.”
Having some former college teammates with him as Robinson learns a new defense, team and city will help ease the transition. Sirianni said he already saw Robinson and Sweat eating lunch together, so he walked by humming the Florida State fight song.
“There’s three of us deep now,” Wilson said of the D-line room. “There’s a lot of Florida State action going on. If anybody talks bad about us, we’re going to jump somebody.”
Robinson, at the very least, would bring an intimidation factor.
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