2022 Isaac Redman Award Winner: LB Mark Robinson

Everyone loves a nice backstory. The Steelers have been blessed with many success stories of players overcoming seemingly overwhelming odds to turn their NFL dreams into reality throughout their illustrious franchise history. The topic of this article is just the latest in a long line.

Congratulations to Steelers rookie inside linebacker Mark Robinson on winning the 2022 Isaac Redman Award in what was by far the closest voting in Redman Award history.

Most invested contributors realized it was a two-man contest between Mark Robinson and training camp offensive sensation Jaylen Warren, an undrafted rookie from Oklahoma State.

Both young men exceeded all realistic expectations throughout camp and carried that success into their pre-season game performances. The two were also directly affected by the limitations of their colleagues on several occasions, but still managed to show off their NFL-caliber abilities on a regular basis.

In the end, after our passionate BTSC community racked up over 1,500 total votes, Robinson edged Warren by just one vote, 691 to 690. In the end, they made up over 90% of the total vote. I believe this qualifies as a two-man race.

The Redman Award is truly a special accolade for Behind the Steel Curtain, decided solely by the majority vote of the BTSC community, and completely unique to the site. The annual winner embraces the spirit of its namesake; a diamond in the raw upstart who exceeded expectations enough to capture the imagination of the Steelers’ voracious fanbase.

Many of the previous winners have gone on to establish admirable careers in the NFL, if only by the longevity of said career. Daniel McCullers carved out an impressive 6 years, mostly on the sidelines with the Steelers, where he provided an impressive source of shadow for anyone lucky enough to stand in his shadow.

If Big Dan McCullers was Shade Tree, then former Steelers star Mike Hilton is Mighty Mouse. What Hilton lacks in size, it makes up for in tenacity and heart. He had the best season of his NFL career in 2021 with the Cincinnati Bengals, after 5 outstanding seasons as a corner for the Steelers. He remains the most accomplished Redman Award winner to date.

Mark Robinson now has the opportunity to follow in those footsteps. The youngster has an incredible story of his own, having played just one college season at linebacker, after starting his career as a running back. Thankfully, that single season was a success, playing for the prestigious SEC’s Ole Miss Rebels, universally accepted as the top Power 5 conference in college football. Successful enough to catch the eye of Steelers scouts, Robinson turned his only season into a seventh-round draft selection for the franchise.

As expected based on his limited experience, Robinson is an extremely raw prospect, but the youngster is brimming with potential. He has the athleticism, physique, intensity and instincts reserved for an NFL starter at this position.

Robinson has yet to prove he has the work ethic to maximize his potential, but his already successful transition from running back to linebacker would suggest he does. His fearless and relentless assaults on opposing ball carriers at or near the line of scrimmage offer further confirmation. Either you have that burning desire to make every play when the opportunity arises or you don’t. I believe last year’s overall performance at the Steelers’ position, or lack thereof, clarified that statement perfectly.

Hopefully, Robinson will begin his NFL career as a star of special teams, flying around the field as a contact in search of a human version of a runaway freight train. Get off the rails, because Mark Robinson’s hype train is coming.

For Robinson to have an impact, he must first have the opportunity, which means getting a helmet on game days so he can get the NFL experience he desperately needs to improve. This journey begins in special teams.

I just wanted to say; Congratulations, young man! Great job earning a spot on the roster and keeping your NFL dreams alive. Good health, good luck and best wishes.

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