A'Shawn Robinson Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Rare athletic skill set
Fast interior defender
Very strong at the point of attack
Can bull over offensive linemen
Speed to close
Powerful bull rush
Tough run defender
Hard to move at the point of attack
Athletic for his size
Ability to shed blocks
Skilled at batting passes
Carries weight well
Has experience lining up at a variety of spots
Successful against good competition
Ready to contribute immediately
Good off the field
Needs to develop more pass-rushing moves
Has to maintain good pad level
Summary: With four National Championships in the last decade, Alabama has created a dynasty of dominance on the football field under head coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide have been a factory for NFL talent, and with those kinds of players coming through the program, it can be hard for underclassmen to see the field. Saban hasn't been against playing freshman and sophomores, but it happens rarely and generally only because the player is uber-talented. Robinson was one of those exceptions as he was too good to keep on the sideline.
Robinson became an impact defender as a freshman for Alabama, totaling 38 tackles, eight tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks in 2013. As a sophomore, he wasn't as productive in the pass rush, recording 49 tackles with 7.5 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and two passes batted on the year. In 2015, Robinson formed a dynamite interior defensive line with Jarran Reed, notching 46 tackles with 7.5 for a loss and 3.5 sacks. Robinson had excellent games against LSU and Mississippi State where he dominated at the point of attack. He was a huge part of the Crimson Tide shutting down Leonard Fournette from the Tigers, and Dak Prescott from the Bulldogs in critical wins to send Alabama to the SEC Championship. To close out the year, Robinson was very good against Florida, Michigan State and Clemson.
In speaking with sources, they say that Robinson has a ton of natural talent, and if weren't for his lack of consistency, he would be in contention for the No. 1-overall pick. Robinson has a rare combination of size, strength and quickness. He can fire by blockers, run them over, and is very tough to move at the point of attack. There were plays where Robinson demonstrated serious power to bully offensive linemen around.
In the pass rush, Robinson has the ability to fire his gap. He can use strength to shed blocks and can close quickly on the quarterback. He just has to get far more consistent. There were pass plays where he would get caught up in the line and seemed to get stuck in the trash. Robinson could use more refinement of pass-rushing moves. It would be nice to see him use a rip or club move.
Robinson is very tough as a run defender. He fills his gap and is very hard to move at the line of scrimmage. Robinson eats up his block and prevents holes from opening up. As a nose tackle, he should immediately be a good run defender in the NFL.
At Alabama, Robinson lined up at a variety of spots, including being a goal-line blocker. Defensively, he could be a starting nose tackle in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense next season. Robinson also has the length to play end in a 3-4 defense. He has enough speed and quickness to rush as a three-technique for 4-3 teams, but nose is his more natural fit.
Off the field, sources say that Robinson is solid. He looks like he's 35 but he's barely in his 20s. He is mature and polite, and teams aren't worried about him causing problems.
For the NFL, the question is whether Robinson can play at a high level consistently. If he does, Robinson has the potential to be a superb defender in the mold of Haloti Ngata or Marcel Dareus. Landing with good coaching that gets the most out of him is critical for Robinson. In the 2016 NFL Draft, Robinson should hear his name called in the first round.
Player Comparison: Marcel Dareus. Robinson's playing style reminds me of Dareus. Both are thick, strong and athletic. Dareus (6-3, 331) is heavier than Robinson, but Robinson looked heavier during the seasons and probably dropped weight to run faster at the combine. Dareus was a high first-rounder because he was more consistent, but if Robinson can play at a more steady level, he could be an impact-generating defender at the point of attack similar to Dareus.
NFL Matches: Baltimore, New Orleans, Detroit, New Orleans, Buffalo, Washington, Houston, Cincinnati, Arizona, Seattle and Denver
Perhaps the highest that Robinson could hope to go would be to Baltimore with the sixth pick. The Ravens cut Chris Canty and lost Haloti Ngata last offseason. Robinson could be the heir apparent for Ozzie Newsome.
The middle of the first round could be a sweet spot for Robinson as there are a lot of options with teams picking in the teens. The Saints have to upgrade their defense, particularly against the pass. Robinson would give them an interior presence, which they don't really have.
The Lions badly need to upgrade their defensive tackles. Robinson would give them an interior defender to pressure the quarterback and could be a nice defender to pair with Ziggy Ansah.
Kyle Williams is aging for the Bills, and they could easily address their front seven this offseason. Robinson could form a special tandem with Dareus.
Late in the first round, Cincinnati could be a fit for Robinson. The team could use another tackle to complement Geno Atkins. Brandon Thompson and Devon Still didn't turn into starters while Domata Peko is aging and declining. Robinson would be perfect for the Bengals.
Robinson could also be in play for the Cardinals. They have to replace Darnell Dockett and Dan Williams. Arizona wants to improve its defensive front this offseason. Robinson could form a nice duo with Calais Campbell. Seattle could use an interior disruptor as well. Brandon Mebane left in free agency, and the Seahawks have had problems with a lack of interior pass rush once injuries have hit their defense.
The Redskins want to get younger and more athletic up front. Robinson could be a nose tackle in their 3-4 or 4-3 sets while also having enough speed and athleticism to play some three-technique for Joe Barry.
Vince Wilfork is aging and not a long-term starter for Houston. Having Robinson to team with J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus could be tremendous.
Denver locked up Derek Wolfe, but lost Malik Jackson. Sources say the Broncos will be looking hard at defensive line talent in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Antonio Smith and Vance Walker aren't long-term players, while some other defensive lineman aren't far from free agency. Robinson could be a fit for the Super Bowl champs.