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Rookie CB Rashard Robinson Relishing His Opportunities at 49ers OTAs

Rashard Robinson worked with the second-team defense at Wednesday's open OTA session for the San Francisco 49ers.

The team's fourth-round selection in this year's draft matched up with veteran receivers like Jerome Simpson and consistently battled with a fellow rookie, sixth-round pick Aaron Burbridge.

It was a welcomed opportunity for Robinson, who was dismissed from LSU's football team following his sophomore season.

The 6-foot-1, 177-pound cornerback called it, "relieving" to be back on the practice field at Organized Team Activities working on his fundamentals.

"(I'm) just going out there and competing everyday," Robinson said after the fifth of nine OTA practices this spring. "(I'm) just trying to maximize my potential, taking in all the coaching from (defensive backs) coach (Jeff) Hafley and (defensive coordinator Jim) O'Neil, and then I have all the vets. They are giving me pointers and stuff. They help my improve me game, so it's fun."

Robinson is one of 10 cornerbacks on the 49ers roster vying for playing time in 2016.

According to veteran safety Antoine Bethea, Robinson has fit in nicely in daily battles against the fast-paced Chip Kelly offense.

"He's doing good," Bethea said. "(He's) a young guy coming to the game, especially going against Chip's offense, that's going to be one of the main things for him, the speed of the game.

"As a young player, I think the most important thing to do is just go out there and work hard and get in the film room, study, and know the playbook."

Robinson admitted it was a challenge to get readjusted to football practices his time away from the game. However, the quick-natured practices have helped shake off any rust. Robinson recorded 30 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one interception in his brief college career at LSU.

Despite the low number of college games under his belt, Robinson shined in one of his toughest matchups. As a freshman, the former LSU defensive back held then Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans to four catches for 51 yards. Evans went on to be the seventh overall selection for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014.

Robinson's 32.5-inch arms, coupled with a 4.43-second, 40-yard dash at his pro day and a feisty on-field demeanor, make him an ideal player for O'Neil's defensive scheme. So far this offseason, the 49ers have emphasized press-man cover techniques.

Robinson said he's loving it.

"You know every day you can work on something to better yourself, so (I'm) just working on my fundamentals," Robinson said. "(I'm) just being a better player and getting down the playbook and everything and knowing the calls. Just going out there and having fun playing ball."

When asked what makes him an NFL-caliber player, the rookie had a priceless response.

"Fast dude," Robinson began. "Long dude. Rangy dude. Aggressive dude. I just gotta go out there and make the most of it."

Robinson was observed breaking up a pass to Burbridge in Week 2 of OTAs. The moment, plus being on the second-team defense, illustrated how Robinson has made early strides in his 49ers career.

"I just try to go out there and compete," Robinson said. "Like coach Kelly says, 'Come to practice every day and make someone else better.' That's the mission."

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