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A'Shawn Robinson: The Good, the Great, and the Ugly

Coach Gene Clemons breaks down the new Giants defender's film to find what he could potentially bring to the table.

Interior defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson is the newest member of the New York Giants and is a very underrated acquisition. 

Robinson has spent the past few years with the Rams next to a dominant defensive tackle in Aaron Donald. Now he comes to join a young athletic defensive front that needed another big strong lineman to bolster the depth. 

Playing in a 30-front defense for the Rams meant that Robinson spent more time as an end. This will likely not be the case in Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale's system, and that could lead to him having an even better season with his new team. 

Last season’s Rams game against Buffalo was a great illustration of the pros and cons of Robinson's game. In looking at his game, we identified the good, the great, and the ugly of the newest defensive tackle in town. 

The Good: Strength/Power

Robinson's strength is one of his most valuable assets on the field. His size and power make him a long day at the office for any offensive lineman. He uses his strength in various ways to throw a wrench in most offensive game plans.

One of Robinson's greatest assets is his ability to overpower opponents. He uses his size and strength to displace the line of scrimmage and create unnatural rushing lanes. He gets into the backfield and disrupts plays before they can develop. 

Robinson's strength also allows him to shed blocks quickly and get to the ball carrier, which is why he is such a force against the run. Robinson commands double teams; it is almost impossible for guards or centers to handle him alone. 

The attention he receives opens up opportunities for others online to take advantage of one-on-one blocking in the run and passing games. Robinson is a great teammate to play alongside, and the evidence is in the production that his teammates along the line enjoy.

The Great: Tackling Ability

Robinson is one of the best run-stopping defensive tackles in the league; his ability to make tackles is a major reason why. Over the past two seasons with the Rams, he has 107 tackles in 24 starts. 

With his size, strength, and surprising quickness, Robinson is a wide load to handle on the field. It allows him to be an effective tackler in a variety of situations. One of Robinson's biggest strengths as a tackler is his ability to shed blocks, especially at the point of attack. He overpowers opposing linemen and makes his way into the backfield, where he can disrupt plays and make tackles for loss. 

Robinson is also quick and agile for his size, allowing him to change direction when rushers begin dancing in the backfield. Robinson is also a sure tackler who rarely misses a tackle once he gets his hands on the ball carrier. He uses his long arms and strong grip to wrap up ball carriers and bring them down to the ground.

The Ugly: Pass Rushing

While he is a problem for offenses as a run defender, he does not possess the same effectiveness in the passing game. It's baffling that his combination of size and strength does not correlate to his effectiveness as a pass rusher. 

One reason Robinson struggles as a pass rusher is his technique. The bull rush effectively collapses the pocket, but it usually gives the quarterback time to get rid of the ball. 

It also allows the offensive lineman to latch onto him, making it more difficult to shed the block and chase the quarterback when he escapes the pocket. Robinson is more of a power guy, so he does not consistently possess the level of finesse necessary to win in the pass rush. 

He does not have a lot of moves and does not fight off his hands well. When he is used as a pass rusher, he lacks the explosion that quickly gets into an offensive lineman and makes them scramble to block him. That lack of explosion usually results in the ball getting away. In Los Angeles, this was exacerbated by Aaron Donald, one of the most explosive defensive linemen in football history.

Final Thoughts

Despite his lack of success as a pass rusher, Robinson remains one of the best against the run and, thus, a valuable member of any defensive unit in any scheme. Coming to a place where he will be in a platoon situation means that Giants fans can hope to see the best version of the 28-year-old, seven-year vet.