Rams travel a long way to meet this rookie prospect in Happy Valley

Penn State scoreboard
Penn State scoreboard / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

You don't often hear much about the LA Rams pre-draft visits in the week leading up to an NFL Draft and rarely hear any news or rumors about the Rams traveling to meet with a prospect. But Penn State outside linebacker Chop Robinson is no ordinary player, and the 2024 NFL Draft is not a typical draft for the Rams.

This year's draft is special for two important yet very different reasons. For starters, it is the first time since the 2016 NFL Draft that the team will be making a selection in Round 1. The last time this team made a pick in Round 1 was the 1st overall selection to choose QB Jared Goff in the 2016 NFL Draft. Before that, the Rams had made 10 first-round picks between 2009 and 2016.

The team holds 19th overall pick and will need to use it wisely.

This draft must find the player or player(s) who can ignite the defense once again following the retirement of defensive lineman Aaron Donald. That is no easy task, as Donald was not just a defensive lineman, but he placed tremendous pressure on offensive linemen to pit two or more blockers to stop Donald at the line of scrimmage. Even with those double teams, Donald was constantly pursuing opposing quarterbacks.

Happy Valley meet and greet

Penn State University is located in the rural town of State College, Pennsylvania. And State College is nestled among the Appalachian Mountains in the heart of the state, known as Happy Valley.

The Rams front office knows that they will need to reinforce their pass rush this season, and former Penn State outside linebacker is a highly regarded rookie prospect who is expected to be picked in Round 1 for that very purpose. Standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 254 pounds, Robinson checks almost all of the boxes for an elite NFL outside linebacker.

All but one, that is. His production at the college level never seemed to meet his athleticism or skillset. That is why the young man is considered a 'Boom or Bust' prospect in his draft profile by NFL Draft Analyst Lance Zierlein.

Demeioun 'Chop' Robinson is an extremely athletic but raw outside linebacker who gives off pass rusher vibes from the moment he puts on football pads and steps onto the field. He showed significant growth and development in his first two college seasons, but seemed to plateau in his third year. And it's that unexplained leveling off of his collegiate production that has NFL draft analysts scratching their heads.

Is he or isn't he the real thing in 2024? That is what the team needs to determine. Robinson possesses so many traits that lead to success at the edge. He has the ability to bend like a Gumby doll, he can pivot on a dime, he has that ultra-twitchiness that puts offensive linemen on their heels instantly. But he needs to harness his athleticism and refine his arsenal of pass rush moves. That will take coaching and a lot of work on Robinson's part.

Is Chop Robinson up to the task? Greatness does not just happen. It takes a true commitment from those players who have the right talent level to achieve those lofty heights. If the team is truly interested in selecting Chop Robinson in Round 1, they will need to determine exactly how committed Robinson is for the 2024 NFL season.