Kiper sees Robinson dropping to 3rd round

Allen Robinson left Penn State a year early hoping to be a first-round NFL pick, but ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes the receiver actually hurt himself by not staying in school.

“I think going back for another year, he probably would have been a late one or early two if he could have got that speed improved and got that 40 time up,” Kiper said Wednesday on a conference call.

Kiper thinks Robinson will drop to the third round in next month’s draft.

“Because of the talent level at the wide receiver spot and overall depth I’ll say third round,” he said.

Robinson set Penn State single-season records with 97 catches for 1,432 last season while hauling in six TDs. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder ran a 4.60-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and lowered it to 4.47 at PSU’s pro day.

The one thing working against him is that this year’s draft is loaded with underclassmen receivers.

“Nine of the top 10 receivers are underclassmen,” Kiper said before later adding, “It’s a tough call when you’re an underclassmen coming out and see everybody joining you. It’s not the optimum situation.”

Steelers draft

The Steelers pick 15th and have needs at many positions, including offensive line, defensive line, receiver and in the secondary.

“If you want to pick the best player, [LSU receiver Odell] Beckham could be the best player,” Kiper said.

Oregon State receiver Brandin Cooks would be another possibility for the Steelers, although Kiper thinks Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard would be the “ideal pick.”

“He’s a Steeler,” Kiper said. “Rough, tough, aggressive football player, plays with a chip on his shoulder. Very good in coverage, plays faster than guys, just a whale of a football player.”

O’Brien’s decision

Former Penn State coach Bill O’Brien faces a tough decision with the No. 1 overall pick with the Houston Texans. He can take South Carolina star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney – Kiper said he can’t see anyone else going No. 1 – or O’Brien can trade down and get the quarterback he needs with a later pick.

In many ways, it figures to be a career-shaping decision for O’Brien, whose tenure in Houston will be largely impacted by whichever decision he makes.

“As a first year coach, you’ve got the first pick, it’s hard to screw that up,” Kiper said. “Some have in the past, but it’s hard to do that when you have a player like Clowney sitting there staring you in the face.”

If the Texans trade out of the top spot, Kiper expects them to pick either Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel to fill the quarterback need.