The Bears on Saturday bolstered their defense by choosing Miami (OH) edge rusher Dominique Robinson in the fifth round at No. 174.
Robinson, 23, arrived at Miami as a quarterback, switched to receiver as a freshman in 2017 and was moved to defensive end as a senior in 2020.
Last season the 6-5, 253-pounder registered 28 tackles, 6.5 tackles-for-loss and 2.5 sacks while playing in 12 games. Robinson grew up in Canton, Ohio, site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"I had an opportunity to move to wide receiver, so I took it because I wasn't getting as many reps at quarterback," Robinson said during a video call with Chicago reporters. "Playing wide receiver for three seasons and things didn't pan out at the end of 2019, so I ended up talking to my head coach about moving to defensive end, and I made that move.
"I've been a playmaker all my life, and when I was not able to get the ball to make plays at wide receiver, I knew I needed to put myself in a position to make plays without having the ball in my hand. I knew that the defense was the best way to do that, and that's what I did."
Robinson was convinced he could make a successful switch to edge rusher because another Canton native, Jamal Davis II—who's now with the Los Angeles Chargers—has a similar build and excelled at the position at Akron.
"Some of my teammates were like, 'Bro, you could play defense,'" Robinson said. "I always had it in the back of my head, then I'm watching [Commanders defensive end] Chase Young running around people, so I thought I could do it. So, here we are."
Moving to defense so late in his college career, Robinson understands that he's far from a finished product.
"I consider myself to be really, really raw," he said. "I've been working on some new stuff. I was a one-dimensional player, kind of. I only had one move throughout college. I wanted to add some power. I wanted to add some things that come off of power, and I think I've been doing that pretty well on a consistent basis during this off time.
"The biggest learning curve is being able to get in a stance over and over again and be powerful out of that stance because I was never a stand-up wide receiver; I was always down, four downs. That was different, but once I got that and being able to strike, that became really easy."
The Bears are intrigued by Robinson's athleticism and potential as a pass rusher.
"He's a really good value pick," said area scout Brendan Rehor. "Anytime you can rush the passer, that's a trait you can hang your hat on. That's a trait we look for. You can never have too many pass rushers, and this kid can do that.
"The athlete stands out. There's only upside with this kid, which is what we're betting on and what we invested in. The athlete himself, the frame, he's a lean dude. He started as an offensive player … but there's only upside with this kid. There's only athletic ability. There's a lot of stuff to work with with him."
The Bears were impressed with how Robinson performed at the Senior Bowl.
"I would say there is some rawness to him, but this kid can rush the passer," Rehor said. "I think he showed this at the Senior Bowl. That was really where he made, I thought, his biggest step where he [showed he] belonged."
With the 174th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Bears select Miami (OH) defensive lineman Dominique Robinson.