Former Alabama defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson doesn’t look like a rookie, but even the big man must learn a thing or two when it comes to adjusting to playing in the NFL.
After watching his hopes of being a first-round selection slip away, the Detroit Lions scooped the 6-foot-4, 312-pounder up in the second round with the 46th overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Spending the duration of his career in Alabama’s 3-4 defense, Robinson wasn’t an exact fit for the 4-3 defense that Lions coordinator Teryl Austin likes to run, but his talent was likely too enticing for Detroit to pass up on at that point in the draft.
“He is a big, powerful man,” Austin said of Robinson recently via DetriotLions.com. “He’s still learning our techniques because he played a completely different style of football at Alabama than we teach here. But he picks up things fast. He has the athletic ability to do it. He has the strength and size to do it. It will be nice once we get into pads and he’s really taking on blocks — you know, full-on taking on blocks — learning how to do that stuff. Then we’ll see how good he is.”
It is hard to project how an interior player like Robinson will perform without live action in pads, but the fact that he’s catching on to the concept changes is likely equally as important as anything he does physically at this point in his career.
Fellow Lions defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who has appeared in five Pro Bowls during a 10-year NFL career, heaped praise on the former Crimson Tide enforcer.
“A’Shawn’s awesome,” Ngata said, according to MLive’s Justin Rogers. “He’s freaking big and strong. He’s going to be a great student of the game. He pays attention and just always corrects what he needs to correct.”
Having a savvy veteran like Ngata from which to learn the pro game will likely to work to Robinson’s long-term benefit.