We’re counting down the days until the Panthers kick off the 2021 season.
We’re only 27 days away from the start of the Panthers 2021 season, so that means today’s countdown piece is dedicated to No. 27 on the Panthers roster — safety Kenny Robinson.
Robinson took the road less traveled to the NFL. He played two stellar years at West Virginia and was rewarded with First Team All-Big 12 honors after his 2018 sophomore season. But his future plans went sideways when he was expelled from West Virginia for academic fraud following his 2018 campaign. Kenny posted a lengthy column on The Players’ Tribune explaining to NFL general managers in his own words what led up to his expulsion, including his mother’s serious health issues and his own poor decisions.
He was drafted in October 2019 by the XFL’s St. Louis BattleHawks and played five games of the 2020 season before COVID-19 scuttled the rest of the XFL’s year. He was then drafted by the Panthers in the fifth round (No. 152 overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Robinson’s 2020 rookie season began on the Panthers practice squad before he was promoted to the active roster heading into Week 5. He ultimately played in each of the Panthers final nine games primarily on special teams. Robinson finished his first NFL season with 128 special teams snaps, six defensive snaps, and one tackle.
The Panthers unofficial depth chart currently lists the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder as the second string free safety behind Jeremy Chinn. I don’t know if this is a reflection of Robinson’s potential or an indictment of Carolina’s general lack of talent across the secondary, but he will likely be on the 53-man roster Week 1.
Kenny’s college career ended abruptly, his XFL experience was derailed by a pandemic, and his NFL career started slowly. He’s definitely one of the Panthers young defensive players who will be given every opportunity to succeed in 2021.
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