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Penn State’s Chop Robinson, Theo Johnson see their NFL draft stock rise

STATE COLLEGE – Chop Robinson ran the 40-yard dash two weeks ago at the NFL Scouting Combine, looked for his time in every direction and couldn’t find it.

Not until he saw fellow Penn State teammate Adisa Isaac and other defensive ends he knew from training did he realize he had done something special.

“I was walking back and I saw Adisa and the other guys,” Robinson recalled Friday at Penn State’s Pro Day. “They were clapping (their hands) and were so happy for me. I knew I hit something crazy. I was just excited after seeing those guys react.”

The 6-3, 254-pound Robinson clocked a 4.48 in Indianapolis, one of the fastest 40-yard dash times ever recorded by a defensive lineman at the Combine. He also had a broad jump of 10 feet, 8 inches, which helped him post the third-best overall athleticism score by a defensive lineman this year.

It was no wonder why Robinson remains on an emotional high and why he couldn’t contain his smile Friday.

“I actually called him (Penn State defensive line coach Deion Barnes) right after the Combine,” he said. “He was just so excited and so happy for me. He said I looked smooth in the drills.”

Robinson was among about a dozen Penn State players who worked out in front of NFL assistant coaches and scouts at Holuba Hall.

Penn State tight end Theo Johnson has improved his draft stock with his performances at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Penn State tight end Theo Johnson has improved his draft stock with his performances at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Penn State tight end Theo Johnson also has seen his stock rise considerably since the Nittany Lions ended their season with a 38-25 loss to Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl.

Johnson impressed NFL teams at the Senior Bowl in January and then ran a 4.57 in the 40 at the Combine, the second-fastest time among tight ends. He also had the fastest shuttle time among tight ends, tied for the fastest 10-second split and finished second in the broad jump (10-5) and vertical jump (39.5).

RAS, a website that determines relative athletic scores at the Combine, said Johnson scored a 9.99 out of a possible 10, the second-highest score among tight ends over the last 37 years.

“I feel really good about it,” Johnson said Friday. “This whole process is something you train for your whole life. I feel like I capitalized on the opportunity. I feel like I did the best I could. I’m in a good spot right now.”

NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah described Johnson as the best tight end at the Senior Bowl. ESPN analyst Matthew Miller said last month he could be the third tight end taken after Brock Bowers of Georgia and Cade Stover of Ohio State.

He’s projected to be taken in the second or third round.

“I think I’ve helped myself a ton,” Johnson said. “I was a guy who people had a lot of questions about. I wasn’t able to put as much as I wanted on tape. I think I’ve shown people that I can move well.

“I want to show everybody that I’m fluid in my routes and that I move a lot differently than a typical 6-6, 260-pound man. I can do anything a tight end needs to do.”

Johnson caught 34 passes for 341 yards and seven touchdowns last season, tying for second on the team in receptions with fellow tight end Tyler Warren, who returns to Penn State.

He said he’s received a lot of advice from former teammates Brenton Strange, who was a second-round pick last year by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Pat Freiermuth, who also was a second-round pick, in 2021 by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“The lineage of tight ends who have come through here is a big part of why I came to Penn State,” Johnson said. “As soon as I walked in the door I wanted to leave my mark on it. I feel like I’ve done that and I feel good that I’m continuing the tradition.”

Robinson has continued the outstanding tradition of Penn State defensive linemen. After his performance at the Combine, he increased his chances of being a first-round pick after some mock drafts had dropped him into the second round.

He was asked if he believed he was good enough to be a first-round pick.

“A hundred percent,” Robinson said. “I’m a guy who shows up every single day and gives everything I got. I’m consistent with everything I do. I got the best get-off and the best bend. You can’t teach that. It’s very natural to me.

“I  don’t pay attention to any mock drafts. I know what type of guy I am and the type of player I am. Wherever I end up, first, second, third or fourth round, it doesn’t matter to me. They’re going to get the same player regardless of where I’m picked.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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