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2023 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson

Cincinnati is in the market for a backup quarterback to Joe Burrow and one PAC-12 option provides quite a bit of intrigue for the job.

NFL backup quarterbacks—they’re not important until they are. Of course, the hope is that the Cincinnati Bengals are never in the predicament of needing to use their backup to Joe Burrow, save for a blowout win situation.

However, it can’t be denied that the team has been scouring options to develop behind No. 9. Brandon Allen wasn’t re-signed, while the team flirted with Trevor Siemian earlier this spring.

The truth is they may be looking in the later rounds of the draft for a youngster to groom behind Burrow. One intriguing multi-threat option is UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who should be available on Day 3.

Draft Profile

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 203

Age: 23 (24 in November)

Year: Senior (RS)

Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina

40-yard Dash: 4.56

RAS: 7.71


“DTR’s” college career can be separated in two eras: “BCK” (Before Chip Kelly) and “ACK” (After Chip Kelly). With proper coaching, talent replenishment, and overall growth, Thompson-Robinson became one of the most lethal quarterbacks in college football over the past two seasons.

After struggling with accuracy and progression reads early in his collegiate career, DTR settled in and began owning opposing defenses. He was a two-time second-team All-PAC-12 the past two seasons, amassing 69 total touchdowns (48 passing, 21 rushing) in 2021 and 2022.

He’s always had the athleticism and scrambling ability in his back pocket, but his improvement as a passer is definitely something of which he should be proud. Thompson-Robinson sat under 60% for a completion rate his first two seasons but improved all the way to nearly 70% in his final year with the Bruins.


Thompson-Robinson can get out of many precarious pocket situations because of his athleticism, elusiveness, and awareness. There are many instances on film wherein he gets out of a would-be sack for a positive gain.

His speed and athleticism also allow for offensive coordinators to draw up designed draws and quarterback runs, in which there is a large sample size of success (1,826 rushing yards and 28 rushing touchdowns in five years). While “dual-threat” can allude to a player not having high-end passing prowess, that isn’t the case for DTR.

His short and intermediate game is on point. The “zip balls” across the middle, or with a guy streaking down the sideline are some of the prettier throws we’ve seen from a prospect in recent years.

Even though Robinson-Thompson isn’t the tallest of quarterbacks, he can create passing lanes and often shows ample arm strength to laser a line drive through for big yardage.


With all of the stats, sizzle, hurdle runs, and line drive throws, there are some concerns. One of which is on the high-arching deep balls.

DTR doesn’t always show the best touch, sometimes under-throwing a receiver for one of those Jeff Blake-like specials. He can get by with subpar throws when schemes get guys open by a wide margin and/or overall talent can overcome these inconsistencies.

While Thompson-Robinson’s development under Kelly can’t be understated, that also plays into a potential narrative. Does he need to land in a spot with an uber-creative offensive mind to be successful?

Additionally, DTR is most successful as a passer when out of shotgun and/or RPO formations. Teams will need to initially create situations in which he is most comfortable, while also trying to further his repertoire.


Right now, Thompson-Robinson is pegged as an early Day 3 pick. However, teams could become enamored with the tool kit he possesses and believe he can be a high-end QB2 in a short time.

Whoever drafts him, I predict he’ll absolutely light up the preseason, giving himself some buzz. If he gets drafted by a team with a fluid quarterback situation, he could find himself in a starting controversy situation quickly.

If he lands with a team that has an established quarterback, DTR can be a guy who can step in during those nightmare situations with an injured starter and find ways to move the ball. In that same scenario, he could also be a package guy behind a starter, carving out a niche as an occasional weapon when called upon.

Regardless, he has a number of skills that translate at the next level and teams should be intrigued by his potential development. Even though he’s a bit older, he’s shown the ability for continued growth, which should also be appealing to NFL clubs.