NFL teams looking for a 3-4 defensive end should look away from Oxford and toward Tuscaloosa, says draft expert Mel Kiper, Jr.
His latest mock draft sent Alabama lineman A’Shawn Robinson to New Orleans at No. 12 and Ole Miss lineman Robert Nkemdiche to Philadelphia at No. 13.
“You know what you’re getting with Robinson,” Kiper said during a Thursday conference call. “With Nkemdiche … some struggles at the end of the year. The off-the-field problem. And he wasn’t as productive as he should’ve been.
“You have some intangible issues with him that you don’t with Robinson.”
Those “off-the-field” issues include a December incident in which Nkemdiche fell out of a hotel window and was subsequently charged with pot possession. Robinson, meanwhile, has never been in trouble at Alabama and outperformed Nkemdiche with 46 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss this season.
The talented Alabama defensive lineman officially announced his plans to enter the NFL draft on Friday afternoon in Tuscaloosa.
“A’Shawn Robinson is a guy that’s an ideal player for today’s NFL,” Kiper said. “He showed this year he can get after the quarterback. He was the stopping the run on the way to the quarterback.”
Kiper also noted that Robinson’s improved rush came after losing weight in the offseason.
“He’s a hard-working guy,” Kiper said. “He’s a leader. He’s mature beyond his years.”