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Draft Profile: Robinson Hopes to Cook Up a Role in New England

Fourth-round pick Layden Robinson has all the ingredients for success with the Patriots.

Texas A&M offensive lineman Layden Robinson (64).
Texas A&M offensive lineman Layden Robinson (64).

Offensive linemen are paid to punish people. Their sole purpose is to physically move players against their will and create space for their teammates. Layden Robinson certainly did plenty of that during his time at Texas A&M, but according to his position coach he also had qualities that were unique for his position.

"You are really getting one of the nicest kids I've ever coached in my career. He's just a wonderful guy," said Steve Addazio, the former head coach at Boston College and the offensive line coach for the Aggies the last two seasons. "He's thoughtful, hard-working, genuine, sincere … and he's a great cook."

Robinson, who grew up in Manvel, Texas, says he was drawn to various cooking shows at a young age and loves experimenting with various steak marinades. But when he's not watching The Food Network, he's usually doing whatever it takes to improve on the football field.

It's not like all offensive linemen are nasty dudes who don't care about anything but their jobs, but not many are described as genuine and sincere with a love of cooking. Then again, the Patriots fourth-round pick (103rd overall) is cut from a slightly different cloth.

Addazio talked about the ever-changing landscape of college sports with the transfer portal and name, image and likeness (NIL) deals permeating programs all across the country. That was true at Texas A&M as well, but Robinson wasn't interested.

"During my two years at A&M I never heard anything out of his mouth about NIL," Addazio said. "We had plenty of guys getting paid, and many of them weren't anywhere near as talented as Layden. That was so refreshing to me. He actually walked away from a lot stuff that people were offering him. He wasn't interested in any of that. He just wanted to continue working hard and preparing himself to be the best player he could be.

"He's got that high, high character as well and I like that combination a lot. He loves his mother and cooking and there's something really pure about that. He's the kind of guy you want to root for."

All of his kind qualities and values might give fans the impression that he may not be tough or talented enough to compete at a high level. Addazio made sure to explain that wouldn't be the case. The long-time veteran coach has been around many great players such as Mike and Maurkice Pouncey at Florida as well as Chris Lindstrom at Boston College. They all enjoyed, or in Lindstrom's case still enjoying, tremendous success in the NFL. Addazio says Robinson has all the ingredients to put himself in a similar class.

"He's a real powerful guy in terms of knocking guys off the line of scrimmage," Addazio said. "The two Pounceys were like that. Like Lindstrom … one of those prototypical big, tough, physical road graders who's done it in the SEC. He's just so quick and explosive. You watch the tape and see him take SEC defensive linemen and just road grade them. He knocks guys back and that puts him in a special category. He's very thick and powerful."

The fact that Robinson was successful in the SEC is important to Addazio. Like most college football enthusiasts, he considers the league to be a cut above the rest in terms of talent. He relayed a story from his early days at Florida when he and Urban Meyer brought their zone-read attack to the SEC but found success much more difficult to achieve than it was previously at Utah and Bowling Green.

After realizing that SEC defensive linemen were too talented to push the line affectively, Meyer and Addazio huddled and found that they needed to add some wrinkles in terms of gap schemes and other alterations. It was a realization that the SEC was different, and Addazio explained that Robinson proved to be capable of competing at that level every day.

"There are no soft spots in that league," Addazio said. "You're either tough enough to do it or you will be exposed. Even in practice he had to go against McKinnley Jackson, who just went in the third round, every day. That only gets you better. It exposes your weaknesses and makes you improve."

Speaking of zone reads and gap schemes, Addazio believes Robinson's skill set will allow him to thrive in Alex Van Pelt's system. While power won't be a problem for Robinson, he will need to continue to improve his lateral quickness, an issue that sometimes shows up in his pass protection. But athleticism won't be a problem.

"Don't forget at his Pro Day he ran 5.1 or under. He can run," Addazio said. "His power and ability to run is outstanding, and he will continue to improve upon his lateral quickness. He will be able to hit those wide zones with power with no problem at all."

How and when he might factor into the equation up front is hard to say. The Patriots drafted three interior offensive linemen in 2023 – Sidy Sow, Atonio Mafi and Jake Andrews – and all three will have a chance to compete at the very least for roster spots. The Patriots have said Mike Onwenu will play tackle, a fact that Onwenu himself reiterated recently, so it's possible that both guard spots could be open with David Andrews back to handle center.

Sow enjoyed the most success as a rookie, and 2022 first-round pick Cole Strange is dealing with offseason knee surgery and might be limited heading into training camp.

Robinson figures to get a chance to compete with that group and let the chips fall where they may.

"He knows how to grind and really work as an individual and he really became a student of the game," Addazio concluded. "All of that was new to him when he got in and he really learned.

"I think you guys got a really good one."

Layden Robinson
G, 6-3, 302
Texas A & M
Manvel, Texas
4th round, 103rd overall

Strengths: Thick build with above-average arm length and hand size. … Solid anchor and hard to move at the point of attack. … Keeps defenders off his body with long arms. … Creates running lanes with effective pulls. … Uses angles well on the move. … Tremendous power with hands to disrupt rushers. … Sustains and finishes blocks well. … Three seasons of starting experience in the SEC.

Weaknesses: Not overly explosive. … Struggles at times when rushers cross his face. … Tends to play with a high pad level making it tougher to mirror rushers. … Can lunge and winds up off balance and at times on the ground in pass protection. … Needs to keep his hands inside more consistently. … Struggles recognizing secondary blitzes quickly enough. … Play with too much emotion at times and tends to lose discipline (13 penalties over final two seasons). … Exclusively played right guard at Texas A&M.

Personal: Two-time captain for the Aggies in 2022 and '23. … Three-year starter on the offensive line at Manvel High School playing both guard and tackle. … Also lettered in track, competing in shot put and discus. … Earned a degree in communications in December 2022. … Participated in Senior Bowl. … Considers himself a food and cooking aficionado.

Comparable NFL player: Jon Gaines, G, Arizona – The 2023 fourth-round pick has similar size and build and is fighting to earn playing time after spending rookie season on injured reserve.

Table inside Article
Robinson Combine avg. for pos.
Height 6-3 6-4
Weight 302 312.2
40-yard dnp 5.27
Bench (225) dnp 25.2
Vertical Jump 26.5 28.0
Long Jump 9-3 8-6
Shuttle dnp 4.74
Cone dnp 7.84

What they're saying …

"Robinson is a three-year starter with long arms. He is an aggressive run-blocker who fires off the ball, works his hands inside and drives once in position. He blocks to the whistle, plays with a finisher's mentality and flashes the ability to bury defenders. He has a powerful punch and is tough to shake once he latches on with his big hands in pass protection. – ESPN's Steve Muench

View Photos of Patriots fourth round pick, offensive lineman Layden Robinson in action.

DISCLAIMER: The views and thoughts expressed in this article are those of the writer and don't necessarily reflect those of the organization. Read Full Disclaimer

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