Can We Learn Anything from Greg Robinson’s Struggles?

 

With news of former number two overall pick in the 2014 draft Greg Robinson being traded for a 6th round pick broke, it was another backwards step for Robinson whose NFL career is not what most thought it would be. Coming into the draft it was hard to find someone who didn’t like Greg Robinson and thought he was going to be good in the leauge. Todd McShay graded him out as a 97 (out of a 100) and had him as his 2nd rated prospect, Mike Mayock compared him to Orlando Pace and had him as his 3rd rated prospect, while Matt Miller had him as his 4th rated prospect. Heck I had him as my 4th rated prospect also, but I guess on the bright side he was my 2nd rated tackle.

But what happened? Why were so many people so high on Robinson and why has his career in the NFL gone so downhill? If anything can we take something away from this whole situation?

When Robinson came out he had all the tools to be an elite left tackle. Standing 6’5 332lbs with 35″ arms he had the prototypical body type. Add in that he tested extremely well at the Combine with the best 40 and broad jumps it was clear that he was a good athlete.  Did we put too big of an emphasis and looks and testing numbers? Was Robinson just a workout warrior?

Looking back at my scouting report on Robinson (http://bajohans.blogspot.com/2014/01/player-profile-greg-robinson.html) it was no secret that Robinson was not a finished product. While at Auburn the Tigers were a very run oriented team running the ball 72% of the time. This allowed Robinson to show off his tremendous run blocking ability. To put it blunt, Robinson was a true road grading tackle.

 

When the Tigers did throw the ball it was often play action or off of run/pass option that often had the offensive lineman still being aggressive and attacking forward at the defense. It was clear that everyone was projecting Robinson as a pass blocker and hoping that his athletic ability would translate with some time and development. Too often Robinson’s blocking looked like this.

 

 

The initial thoughts were that Robinson would start his career at right tackle as Jake Long was entrenched on the left side. The Rams instead chose to put him at left guard so that his footwork would be the same on the left side and use his run blocking skills better inside. What was suppose to be a long term development turned into a short one as Long got hurt and Robinson moved out to left tackle during his rookie year and stayed there for the next three years struggling so much that Andrew Whitworth was brought in. Thoughts of Robinson going back to guard was the thought, but he was then traded to the Lions. Robinson will get a shot at left tackle as Taylor Decker was injured, but you have to assume that his future is at guard.

So where did it all go wrong? Why did everybody miss on Greg Robinson? Personally I believe the moral of the story is similar to other positions. Trusting a prospect drafting extremely high off of a limited amount of snaps who hasn’t shown the skill set that is going to be needed to have success. A lot of people forget that Robinson was only a redshirt sophomore when he came out in an effort to help support his family. Would another year of playing have helped Robinson? Was forcing Robinson to play left tackle as a rookie rushing him too soon? But it’s not like he was tearing it up at guard.

I hope Robinson finds success with the Lions and maybe without the pressure that was had in St. Louis and then Los Angeles will allow him to settle in and find a role. He was a fun prospect to watch because he was so dominant as a run blocker. But this should be a lesson to us internet evaluators and even NFL teams. Maybe it’s one that has already bared fruit?

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