Lions select DT A’Shawn Robinson with No. 46 pick in 2016 NFL draft
With the No. 46 pick in the 2016 NFL draft, the Detroit Lions select Alabama DT A’Shawn Robinson.
Losing Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley over the last couple of years put a major hole in Detroit's defensive line. Robinson can put a lot of that to rest with his combination of two-gap power and one-gap pursuit ability. Those who malign him as a one-trick pony need to watch his 2013 tape, when he blew up blocks and pressured quarterbacks very well.
Strengths: Did a lot as a two-gap tackle to create opportunities for those around him to excel. Plays effectively everywhere from zero-tech straight over center to run-stopping end. Aggressive leverage player who frequently bends blockers back with strong legs and an impressive bull-rush. Occasionally will simply toss a blocker aside. Can put a blocker on the tracks and rock him all the way through the pocket when he wins the timing and leverage battles. Frequently demands double-teams and chips even with the estimable talent along Alabama’s defensive line. Slips off blocks quickly to wrap up the ballcarrier, and has excellent tackling form—Robinson builds a wall when he's got his feet under him. Consistently re-directs blockers when he tags one shoulder and wrestles them out of position. Strong enough to move one and two blockers laterally to the ballcarrier at times. Has a dominant initial punch when he uses it: has 34 1/4" arms and has that “one-inch punch” that takes blockers out of plays entirely. Has excellent flexibility to re-direct to the ball, and diagnoses well to get there. NFL-ready from a power perspective. Doesn't flow from sideline to sideline, but appears to have the potential to do so.
Weaknesses: Two-year starter who played 57% of Alabama’s defensive snaps over the last two seasons. Game isn’t fully developed yet. Tends to wait and pause too often off the snap, which leaves him vulnerable to quicker blockers who establish the point of attack advantage. Needs to mush-rush less and trust his natural aggressiveness more. Gets lost in the wash when he plays too high, and with his height, he needs to pay special attention to that. Occupies blockers very well, but may have to change his mentality to disengage more quickly at the NFL level. Needs to develop a signature pass-rush move and use his hands more effectively in general. Gets into the pocket with power over technique. Doesn’t yet have the ability to knife through double teams. Must keep his legs pumping throughout the play, as he can be taken off his line by more persistent blockers.