SEATTLE, WA - Heading into a season clouded by uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic, one of the main themes of the Seahawks draft has been finding players who are most pro-ready for whenever football-related activity starts back up.
In the first round, Seattle drafted a four-year starter from Texas Tech in linebacker Jordyn Brooks. With their two day two selections, the Seahawks landed Tennessee defensive end Darrell Taylor and LSU guard Damien Lewis, who each started a bunch of games in the rugged SEC.
With the ability to adapt to a new situation quickly at a premium given current circumstances, the Seahawks once again added pass rushing help in the form of Syracuse defensive end Alton Robinson, who interestingly has several relationships linked to the organization.
Through a recommendation from a former teammate, Robinson began training in Bellevue, Washington following his final college game last November. During the pre-draft process, he met linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright and also worked out with his former high school teammate Tre Flowers.
"It's a little different out there," Robinson smiled. "But it's a desired place to be."
While soaking up "west coast vibes," the native Texan thought plenty of times about the possibility of eventually becoming a Seahawk himself. Now that the dream has become reality, he believes he will benefit immensely from his established connections with current and former players on the team, including doing position-specific drill work with former Pro Bowler Cliff Avril.
"I'm definitely super excited about that," Robinson commented about having Avril in his corner coming to Seattle. "Like I said, being able to experience the west coast and be out there in Bellevue and just be able to be around the people out there, let alone being connected with people like Cliff."
"To be able to have that opportunity is a blessing, really, and it's even more of a blessing to be a Seahawk now."
Robinson arrives in the NFL with a bit of a checkered past, as he signed a letter of intent to play at Texas A&M before an "embarrassing" situation led to the school revoking his scholarship offer. Accused of stealing his then-girlfriend's purse, he was charged with second-degree robbery.
Learning from the incident and overcoming adversity, another trait the Seahawks always covet, he started his college career at Northwest Oklahoma A&M College. Due to his past legal issues, Oklahoma State opted not to give him an offer the next year, but he landed on his feet with coach Dino Babers at Syracuse after briefly being set to transfer to New Mexico.
Over the next three seasons, Robinson earned All-ACC honors twice, including racking up 10.0 sacks in 2018 as a Second-Team selection. Unable to pinpoint one specific reason why it happened, his production dipped as a senior with just 4.0 sacks, but he was still an honorable mention honoree.
"Sacks are funny, you know? You can up seasons and down. There's not one thing I can accredit it all to. I get that question a lot, but it's a hard question to answer."
Continuing his career in Seattle, Robinson hopes his "relentless competitiveness" coupled with what he's learned through his relationship with Avril will help him find immediate success. Once the team is able to return to the field, he has no doubts he will be ready to rock and thinks it's a perfect fit for his talents.
"The scheme and all that stuff - getting off the ball - after talking to him [Cliff], I feel like it's the best kind of defense, so I'm definitely excited to get up there."