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Brian Robinson Jr.’s patience pays off when Washington picks him in the NFL Draft

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DESTIN, Fla. — On a huge 85-inch flat screen, Mel Kiper barked with his expertise about the fate of approximately 200 college football players who still awaited the call of their lives. The second round of the 2022 NFL Draft was well underway Friday night when Brian Robinson Jr., with the vast majority of a long wait still ahead of him, broke all the tension in the room with a single thought.

His volume didn’t match Kiper’s, but with the extended family reunited around Robinson, the longtime ESPN pundit lost everyone’s attention on the man of the hour. Or, so to speak, hours.

“I try to be more grateful for where I’m going than when I’m going,” Robinson said.

With that, the tone for what would turn into an excruciatingly long night was set. Hours later, the former Hillcrest High star running back would finally be selected by the Washington Commanders in the third round with a third-round compensatory selection, No. 98 overall, and just seven picks before his wait was extended. overnight. he fell in the fourth round.

But Robinson is no stranger to expectations. His patience had already been tested like very few others among the 262 draft selections, having waited four years to start in the backfield at Alabama. Stuck behind three Alabama running backs for four years who are already cashing NFL paychecks, Robinson avoided the ever-popular transfer portal and stayed in Alabama for a fifth year. He busted for 1,343 yards and 14 touchdowns. His draft stock with NFL scouts increased accordingly, and his patience would once again be rewarded with the draft.

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After a four-year wait culminating in this, what is four hours?

Heads around the room nodded in approval as Robinson revealed his heady perspective. He had nailed the mental approach needed to watch pick after pick roll off the board in front of him.

“I’m so proud of how he’s held up,” said his father, Brian Robinson Sr., who admitted to seeing himself in his son a lot. “I stayed with myself, and now I have a towing business.”

A few dozen members of Robinson’s immediate and extended family gathered at an immaculate rented beach house in begging Florida for a two-day party that was to commemorate his draft selection. The plan was to make the stay a mini-vacation, with the family preferring the beach setting to having a scrappy party in Tuscaloosa. One of Robinson’s uncles, Wardrias Little, spent five hours on a gas grill on Friday afternoon, cooking 30 pounds of chicken wings, dozens of burgers and sausages, and his signature baked beans.

Steps from Miramar Beach, the $3 million property featured an attractive back patio with a pool that beckoned an escape from the buzz of Kiper and any frustration over Robinson’s crash late in the third round of the repechage. Eventually, the younger members of the family ditched the draft for poolside hip hop music booming from a powerful amplifier that reverberated through the house, while the older ones remained glued to the television. .

Dressed in a simple black t-shirt, with a Goorin Bros “Funky Little Monkey” cap on his head and a dazzling pair of yellow Nike sneakers on his feet, Robinson went outside to listen to music over the watch. interior draft. He and his closest family members had been in Destin since Wednesday, and he had spent the previous two days enjoying the beach, racing go-karts and jet-skis with his cousin Nyla clinging to him from behind.

He wasn’t going to let so much family fun turn to melancholy. Running backs Breece Hall of Iowa State, Kenneth Walker of Michigan State, James Cook of Georgia, Rachaad White of Arizona State and Tyrion Price-Davis of LSU would eventually leave the table before him. At one point, TV teased “With the 62nd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select Bryan…(audible gasp in room)…Cook.”

But Robinson knew he would get a call from his new team before the TV show aired his selection anyway.

Who needed Kiper?

Former Alabama RB Brian Robinson Jr.'s draft group was ready with a cap for all 32 clubs in the NFL.

He got up and walked past a table displaying a hat for all 32 NFL clubs, walked out onto the patio and said confidently, “I’m going to be at the Pro Bowl anyway. It doesn’t matter who takes me or when they take me.

Shortly after 10 p.m., with the threat of the long wait into Day 3 looming minutes away, Robinson came back and hit over 31 other hats passed to him. The call had finally come, and the Commanders — one of seven NFL clubs that hosted Robinson on a pre-draft visit — got the party started again. Robinson fell, knees weak from the moment, as his mother Kimberly helped him up.

Former Alabama RB Brian Robinson Jr. needed help from his mother Kimberly as he was overwhelmed with his NFL Draft selection.

Someone pulled the amplifier out of the patio and into the house, and cranked the volume several times louder than Kiper. Robinson took advantage of the quiet of the patio to soak up his future in Washington.

“I had to go back to my old strategy that I used in ‘Bama to stay patient. I had to relax and sit and wait, and I thought about all the patience I had to use in Alabama a few times overnight,” Robinson said minutes later. “It definitely applied to that.”

Contact Chase Goodbread @[email protected] Follow @chasegoodbread on Twitter.