Steelers third biggest loser: Mark Robinson
Typically, teams don’t like to completely overhaul single positions, as having faces familiar with the system and process is beneficial for new names that join the team. This wasn’t the case for the Steelers and the linebacker position, as the only returning name from a season ago is Mark Robinson, and even he isn’t locked into a roster spot yet.
This wasn’t an immediate issue either, as while the team added three linebackers in free agency, only two of them figured to be core defenders, and Cole Holcomb was the only one locked into a starter role. The expectation was still for Robinson to compete for a starting gig. That was still the case even after Nick Kwiatkoski was signed, although Robinson’s role was once again even murkier.
The real blow was Kwon Alexander. The Steelers added him shortly after training camp opened up, and he has been everything as advertised and then some. He was constantly making an impact on defense and figures to be in rotation with the top two names at the position. Robinson is now squarely on the roster bubble.
Even if he makes the roster, Robinson will likely be a weekly inactive unless there is an injury. There will be three names rotating in on defense and another special teams body. While Robinson can play on special teams, players like Kwiatkoski and Tanner Muse make their living off of it.
Robinson truly is a victim of circumstance this year. He didn’t do anything on his end to damage his cause, but the team wanted to go in a different direction apparently at linebacker. To go from competing for a starting role to now a likely weekly inactive is a tough blow to deal with through preseason.