The Detroit Lions selected defensive-tackle A’Shawn Robinson in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of the University of Alabama.
Sound familiar? Alabama is a defensive line factory for the National Football League. The pair played together with the Crimson Tide, that helps build continuity at the next level. I’m not always excited to draft Bama quarterbacks or running backs, but I’m very comfortable plucking players from the trenches.
Nick Saban coaches his teams’ like they are in the NFL, he’s built a bully and regularly draws the top high school players in the country. If I were looking to draft linemen, I start with Alabama and Clemson. We’ve got some of each in Detroit; it bodes well for the future. C.J Mosley played as the middle linebacker behind Robinson; he led Alabama with 108 tackles in 2013. Robinson led the Crimson Tide DL with 5.5 sacks on the season.
Robinson, the 24-year-old, 6’4, 322-pound interior tackle is a space clogger. The third-year pro played in 13 games last year with the Matt Patricia Lions starting just seven of those games. The big man should feast on guards at his size playing one on one while a guard/center combination regularly double-team Snacks Harrison.
Robinson played much better after the Lions acquired Harrison from the Giants. He won’t light up the stat column with quarterback sacks. He’s strong inside against the run. He recorded 34 solo tackles totaling 49 on the year. He made 3 tackles for loss recording 1 sack. The year prior he scored a defensive touchdown and recorded one interception, representing his athletic ability.
I expect the Detroit Lions to finish the season as the best team in the league against the run next year, with a top-five total defense. It’s a bit of a bold prediction, but if everyone can remain healthy this defense will be stout, and it will start up front with Harrison & Robinson shutting down the run.