C.J. Robbins was an integral part of Northwestern’s defensive line and a team captain last year. He initially struggled with injuries after coming to Northwestern and became a backup tackle. He finally broke out in 2016 playing at defensive end for a team that desperately needed one. He excelled at stopping the run but also chipped in for three sacks playing opposite Ifeadi Odenigbo.
Robbins is certainly not undersized. At 301 pounds, Robbins can do his part to clog up running lanes and hit hard when necessary. He’s a great run stopper and draws multiple blockers on running plays. He has some versatility, as he showed he could play both tackle and end in college. However, if he ends up on an NFL team he would most likely switch back to tackle. He also was a real leader at Northwestern and is, by most accounts, a top-notch “character guy”.
Robbins’ biggest weakness is his speed. His 5.07 40-time means he won’t be beating anyone off the line or offering much in pursuit. He does not offer much in the pass rushing department, and NFL teams will be wary of a player with just 3.5 sacks in four years. He was, at many points in his career, a more useful player than Ifeadi Odenigbo at defensive end, but Odenigbo’s speed and pass rushing potential looks much better in the “beauty contest’ (Fitz’s words, not mine) that is the NFL Draft.
Here is a video of C.J. Robbins getting a sack against Ohio State. Ohio State’s blocking was poor, but you can see how much of a problem someone with Robbins’s size can give an offensive line, especially if you let him just run into your quarterback.
Here is his sack against Illinois State (that game triggers me to this day).
Robbins, displaying some mobility in a rare pass coverage assignment, forced a fumble against Illinois.
Per NFLDraftScout.com, Robbins is the 55th defensive tackle out of 197. He isn’t ranked by ESPN or CBS.
Robbins is not going to be drafted. If he wants a chance to impress an NFL franchise, it will have to be as an undrafted free agent somewhere. There’s not much room in the NFL for slower defensive linemen, but Robbins is really good at stopping the run and he could contribute as a two-down player for a team. However, there are probably 100+ football players who can perform this skill, which makes Robbins’ NFL prospects slightly bleak.