Packers Annual Checkup: Luther Robinson

Packers defensive lineman Luther Robinson played 66 snaps in five games last season after being promoted from the practice squad.

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Luther Robinson, defensive line

FOX Sports Wisconsin’s Paul Imig gives an in-depth statistical analysis and film study of every Packers player in his annual offseason checkup. You can find every report here.

Season stats (playoffs included): five games, zero starts (66 snaps), two tackles, zero missed tackles, zero sacks, three quarterback hurries, zero forced fumbles, one pass defensed, one penalty committed season rating: Minus-3.9 (ranked No. 17 out of 24 Packers defensive players)

Best game: Week 5 win over Minnesota (played 36 of 80 snaps); zero tackles, two quarterback hurries, one batted pass; minus-2.1 PFF rating

Worst game: Week 7 win over Carolina (played 21 of 71 snaps); two tackles, one quarterback hurry; minus-1.4 PFF rating

Expectations at the start of training camp: Low

Expectations were …  Met

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Looking live: Luther Robinson was among the players signed by the Packers on May 19, more than one week after the conclusion of the 2014 draft. Robinson had impressed Green Bay after being invited to tryout during the team’s rookie orientation camp. He actually only started a total of three games in college at the University of Miami.

Robinson didn’t do much throughout training camp to really stand out, but he was a big body (6-foot-3, 301 pounds) that could move well at a relatively weak position on the Packers’ roster. That gave him opportunities to get on the field and made him an instant top contender to at least be part of Green Bay’s practice squad.

Robinson played 118 snaps in preseason, which was the third-most of anyone on the Packers’ defense. The results weren’t too good, though. He didn’t record one single tackle, but he did have a missed tackle. More concerning were the three penalties Robinson committed and the lack of success he found in stopping the run. On the plus side, Robinson had four quarterback hurries in 71 pass-rushing opportunities. That’s not a great ratio of hurries to pass-rushes, but he was disruptive on a handful of occasions.

Robinson was among the Packers’ final cuts before the regular season. But one day after being released, Robinson was signed to Green Bay’s practice squad.

Upon further review: Robinson spent the first four games of the regular season on the practice squad. Then, with just a few hours before the Week 5 kickoff against Minnesota, Robinson was signed to the active roster.

It didn’t take long at all for Robinson to make an impact in his debut. In just his third NFL snap, he rushed Christian Ponder and got a piece of the pass. The ball went from Robinson’s fingertips to Julius Peppers’ hands and resulted in a 49-yard interception return for a touchdown.

"I’m very happy for Luther," Mike McCarthy said after the game. "You watch what the young man did, starting in training camp, his work on the practice squad, then to have the opportunity tonight to make a play like that. It’s always a little special when a young man steps up when he gets an opportunity and takes advantage of it."

Robinson wasn’t satisfied, though. "I just have to keep getting better," he said. "I don’t want to make that (game) my ceiling. That’s my floor. I want to keep getting better."

When Green Bay came back from its midseason bye, Robinson was no longer part of the defensive game plan. He was inactive in Weeks 10, 11 and 13 despite being fully healthy. Though Robinson was active for Week 12, he played only two snaps.

Packers Annual Checkups Archive

Two days before the Packers hosted Atlanta, Robinson suffered a calf injury in practice. He was placed on injured reserve Dec. 8, ending his rookie season early.

Overall 2014 grade: C-minus

Status for 2015: Forty percent chance of being on the active roster to begin next season. Robinson will face a difficult battle in training camp in his efforts to be part of the team for a second consecutive year. Undrafted players always have to do more than their drafted teammates, so supplanting a defensive lineman such as Josh Boyd will always be a longshot. Robinson could begin the 2015 season on the practice squad again and then wait for his opportunity. That might be his most realistic scenario. But Ted Thompson also has to be wondering what exactly it is that Robinson did as a rookie that makes him an enticing long-term prospect within the organization. Fellow undrafted defensive players from 2014 Jayrone Elliot and Mike Pennel found niches to make themselves valuable. Robinson has yet to do that.

Next: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers

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