EAGAN, Minn. — A Vikings squad expected to bolster its pass rush did so a couple of times during the 2021 NFL Draft, including with the selection of Janarius (pronounced juh-narr-iss) Robinson out of Florida State in the fourth round.
The No. 134 overall pick will join Pittsburgh's DE Patrick Jones II (third round, 90th overall) and DT Jaylen Twyman (sixth round, 199th overall) as members of the draft class and defensive line room.
Robinson was asked about pre-draft interactions with Vikings Assistant Head Coach and Co-Defensive Coordinator Andre Patterson, who will be coaching the defensive line for an eighth consecutive season, and described "good conversations."
"He told me he loved me, and if they had a chance to pull the trigger on me, they would," Robinson said. "I'm just grateful for this opportunity to get up there and learn with one of the best defensive end coaches in the country and also be around a great room of guys."
Here are five things to know about Robinson:
1. From a resilient family
Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Oct. 10, 2018, directly hitting Robinson's Panama City neighborhood and destroying the home that had been in his family for three generations.
Robinson's mother Cherine Duncan explained in a video by ESPN's "College GameDay" that the family ultimately decided to evacuate with a suitcase full of belongings. Duncan sat in a wrecked room and said she believes they would have died while trying to ride out the storm in that room.
Robinson guided the film crew through the devastation and encouraged his mother.
He worked with Florida State and the NCAA to set up a GoFundMe that enabled construction of a new home on the same property.
Robinson's mom encouraged him to return to Florida State, and he recorded six tackles and a sack against Wake Forest in his first game after the storm.
Robinson described his draft day as "very emotional."
"Just knowing all the things that I went through, adversity in my life off the field with losing my house back in 2018 in Hurricane Michael, but I use that as motivation, to go out there and put my best foot forward every day, and I use that as my 'why,' why I'm going out here and what I need to get done," Robinson said.
2. Time with the Seminoles
Robinson began his college career as a redshirt in 2016, which was Dalvin Cook's final season of running past Florida State's opponents.
He said he hadn't connected with Cook recently but is excited about the opportunity to team with Cook again.
Robinson did well on the field and in the classroom at Florida State. His production included 9.0 tackles for loss in 2019 and 7.0 more in a reduced 2020 campaign. He also had 3.0 sacks in each of the past two seasons.
In 2020, he was named to the All-ACC Academic Team and a Seminole Scholar, which followed two years on the ACC Honor Roll.
View photos of Florida State DE Janarius Robinson who was selected in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
3. He fits the Vikings type
The Vikings have a certain type that they've looked for at defensive end in drafts since Head Coach Mike Zimmer arrived in 2014.
Height and arm length have been emphasized. Robinson's measurements at Florida State's Pro Day were 6 feet, 5 inches tall and 35.25-inch arms. His wingspan measured at a whopping 86.25 inches (more than 7 feet!).
Robinson's wingspan exceeds the 83.75-inch measurement of 2020 Vikings rookie D.J. Wonnum, who tied with DT Benito Jones for the greatest wingspan among defensive linemen at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine.
Before the draft, Robinson was a guest on the "All Things Covered" podcast featuring new Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden.
Robinson mentioned during the interview that he was training with Carolina defensive end Brian Burns, who has totaled 16.5 sacks in the past two seasons since the Panthers drafted him 16th overall in 2019.
Robinson and Peterson first connected through a mutual marketing rep. The young defensive lineman soaked up knowledge from Burns and said he looks forward to learning from Vikings veterans, regardless of position.
5. Highly touted in high school
Robinson starred at Bay High School and helped his team reach the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade. He earned a spot in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl as well as placement on the USA TODAY All-USA Florida First Team and an invitation to "The Opening" at Nike's Oregon headquarters.