2017 NFL draft prospect countdown, No. 23: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Robinson enrolled at Alabama in January 2014, earned the starting left tackle job by the time the Crimson Tide kicked off the following season and never relinquished it—a span of 43 games, including three SEC championships and five playoff appearances. Robinson was a first-team All-SEC member each of the past two years, and he nabbed a first-team All-America spot as a junior.
In addition, Robinson was the 2016 Outland Trophy winner as the nation’s top interior lineman (Ohio State’s Pat Elflein and Washington State’s Cody O’Connell were the other finalists.) Alabama credited him with a combined 83 “knockdown” blocks in 2015–16.
Strengths: Well, strength, for one. Robinson has those coveted “mauler” tendencies in the run game—he can fire off the line of scrimmage, work his hands under an opponent’s shoulder pads and drive that defender into the next zip code. He is not as fluid an athlete as, say, Garett Bolles or Ryan Ramczyk, but he has displayed ample athleticism to pull or rumble through a combo block on the second level.
Robinson has the size (6' 6", 322 lbs.) and length (35 1/2" arms) to project as a franchise left tackle. He covers a ton of ground with his initial kick step, then uses his frame to engulf edge rushers. On a lot of plays Alabama would have its tackle execute hinge blocks, where they’d turn 90 degrees from the line (their backs facing the QB), and Robinson was a brick wall in that set.
He is difficult to power through, in any circumstance. When he’s not moving forward with the initial punch, he can sit and absorb contact from oncoming rushers.
His consistency has to improve, but Robinson tended to deliver the most energy when facing elite competition, like Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett.
“If you’re going against a guy you know who’s a great player,” Robinson said, “as a natural competitor it brings out the best in anybody.”
Weaknesses: For as physical as Robinson can be at the point of attack, he doesn’t end many plays by burying his block. He’s more apt to move a defender from a lane than to plant him into the turf. Flashing a little extra nastiness would serve him well at the next level.
Robinson also finds himself on the ground too often, which is an issue of balance. He is quick enough, and possesses the requisite awareness, to seek out blocks beyond his initial contact, but he leans into those collisions—if he doesn’t strike a defender clean, he will go tumbling. Because his blocks are of the extended variety, as opposed to pancakes, defenders eventually can find a way to toss him off to get back into the play.
He needs to refine his pass-blocking technique, as well. His deep drop can leave him susceptible to inside moves, and his footwork becomes a little clunky when an edge rusher gains an early beat by timing the snap well.
A potential red flag: Robinson was arrested during the summer of 2016 on a marijuana charge and illegal possession of stolen firearms. The case was dropped shortly thereafter.
Player comp: Cordy Glenn