A'Shawn Robinson, DL
School: Alabama | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 307 lbs
pSparq: 94.0 / NFL %: 11.0
Projected Draft Status: Mid-First Round
NFL Comparison: Tyson Alualu
In a draft featuring about a dozen defensive linemen worthy of a first-round pick, A'Shawn Robinson has a case for the best of the bunch. He has it all: an excellent build, athleticism, respectable production, versatility, a clean slate of health, championship experience and good character.
Robinson benefited handsomely from playing in a typically loaded Alabama defense — he lined up next to likely first-rounder Jarran Reed, likely first-round inside linebacker Reggie Ragland was the quarterback of the defense and cornerback Cyrus Jones is unlikely to slip past the third round. Oh, and the team's two sack leaders (Jonathan Allen, with 12.0, and Tim Williams, with 9.5) opted to return to Alabama next season, even though both might've been first-rounders themselves. So yes, Robinson had a pretty good supporting cast in college.
But he also held his own on the field, and he helped some of those other players thrive. Watch some Alabama games from 2015, especially late in the year, and you'll see teams avoid the interior of the line like the center has the plague. That's in no small part due to the fearsome presence of Robinson and Reed, who sometimes commanded four offensive linemen between them.
- He's got an ideal frame for a defensive lineman at the next level, with long arms (34 1/2") and big hands (10 1/2") to boot, and because he carries his 307 pounds so well, he can be used in myriad ways in myriad schemes.
- Robinson is all kinds of athletic, and he plays like he's about 20-30 pounds like than he actually is.
- Reports are he's a great locker room guy and has nothing but positive intangibles.
- His production isn't great in part because teams simply avoid him. In the title game, Clemson threw the ball 47 times and ran 38, but many of those runs were scrambles and most of the designed runs were to the outside. There was simply nowhere to go inside.
- He's so good in the trenches that you could play him all four downs in a goal-line situation, in four different spots, and expect positive results. He even played lead blocker on offensive goal-line situations at times.
- He has little to offer in terms of rushing the passer. Some good coaching might be able to change that, or it might not, but right now he threatens to be a two-down player.
- Robinson played barely more than half the snaps while at Alabama, in part because of the aforementioned pass rushing problem, in part because the Crimson Tide defense was so loaded he wasn't necessary. The good news is he has less mileage on him than others at his position, but the much worse news is there isn't a whole lot of evidence to suggest he would hold up in a full season, both in terms of health and useful play.
- Another question mark working against him, maybe unfairly, is how he'll perform in a less talented defense. Maybe he'll continue to thrive and make his teammates better, but it's more likely that he'll simply be mitigated by offensive game planning.
- His motor is quite good most of the time, especially in run plays, but he seems to take himself out of some passing plays.
- He did not have a good Combine, and while he reportedly had a strong positional workout at his Pro Day, it's somewhat concerning that an athletic freak like Robinson struggled in workouts that athletes tend to thrive in.
How He Would Fit on the Redskins
Robinson is certainly a high-risk, high-reward player, and therefore he could easily slide in the draft. Many mock drafts have him slotted much earlier than No. 21, with some putting him right around the 9-14 mark, but with so many quality defensive line prospects around, most of which are probably safer picks, I think he falls to the 20s. Whether Scot McCloughan would take him is a fair question, but there is no doubt he's built like a McCloughan guy.
Every defensive lineman on the Redskins roster is between 6-foot-1 and 6-foot-5, and with the exception of James Gayle (259 pounds), they're all between 297 and 325 pounds. Three of the defensive linemen McCloughan has signed — Stephen Paea, Kendall Reyes and Ziggy Hood — are listed at 300 pounds, while Ricky Jean-Francois is listed at 297.
Robinson fits that mold perfectly and can be used all over the line, so there is certainly a fit, especially considering how thin (figuratively) the Redskins are in the front seven. Whether they draft him or not, if he falls to them, is more a matter of how confident the Redskins are in their ability to help him develop as a pass rusher.