New Orleans Saints draft profiles: Clash of the Titans, Part 2

brianpavek
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A'Shawn Robinson
A'Shawn Robinson /

A’Shawn Robinson: DT, Alabama

Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 307 LBS

If Andrew Billings is “The Big Upside”, then Robinson has to be “The Big Hype”, but the question always is, can you believe the hype? With Robinson it is a difficult question to answer because there are some things he does incredibly well, and others he’s surprisingly poor at.

Usually, when you think Alabama, you think well-coached players who are part of one of the NFL’s biggest football factories. However, when you watch Robinson, it can be kind of shocking just how average his technique is a lot of the time. In particular, he rarely seems to be aggressive with his hands and is comfortable simply stopping his opponents.

It is entirely fair to wonder if that was part of the game plan at Alabama, where head coach Nick Saban loves to have his big men clog the middle, however, the inconsistency with it makes me believe that the issue has more to do with Robinson than his coaches.

If he IS such a flawed player from a technical stand point at times, though, then why is he so hyped? The reason is simple: Robinson not only looks like a man in his thirties, he plays like one. Robinson is an aggressive, powerful man with great attributes. Beyond that, he had the reputation of being a leader for the Crimson Tide and one of the key players to their dominant defensive line.

Robinson might not be an ideal prospect when you think of a dominant 3-down defensive tackle, but he IS a dominant run defender. He’s incredibly difficult to push back, and while he may not penetrate nearly as often as you might wish, he also won’t give up ground either.

Robinson is a prototypical specimen when you think of an NFL interior defensive lineman, and when you consider that along with his leadership and production in college, he’s a ‘hard to pass up’ prospect. He’s definitely not a natural pass rusher, but he will almost definitely be a quality defensive player for years to come.

The question is whether he is a good fit for the New Orleans Saints, in particular at the No. 12 draft spot. In my honest opinion, the answer to that question is no. Robinson is really just the player that we hoped John Jenkins would be, and the Saints don’t need two of those.

Fit is one of the parts of drafting and team-building (free agency included) that is rarely considered, but it’s arguably the most important component. Robinson is a very good athlete, a great team leader, and locker room presence, and in my opinion, a very bad fit for what the Saints need. Of the four players I’m looking at for this, I want him the least.

Moving on…

Next: Sheldon Rankins

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