By: Dan Dankert
Offensive tackles in the NFL are a rare breed. In order to effectively play offensive tackle it requires a rare combination of height, weight, arm length, quickness, over the top power, and perfect technique. Some of these can be measured, some of them can’t. When analyzing Robinson it’s important to compare his measurables to some of the better players drafted at the position in the past several years. The other players in this comparison are Jack Conklin, Laremy Tunsil, Matt Kalil, and Tyron Smith.
The very first thing I noticed when looking at his measurables comes when looking at his bench press numbers. Raw upper body power is crucial to being a successful tackle. So much of a tackles pass blocking technique is dependent on being able to punch out while kicking backwards, if he doesn’t have that strong upper body explosiveness, it’s going to add to the concerns I already have about his pass blocking skills. He didn’t test out at the combine, and he did not elect to do the bench press drill at his pro day. This is shocking to me and it’s a big slight in my opinion. It looks like he is trying to hide a possible deficiency in upper body strength and it is making me question whether he should even be considered a tackle at this point, or if we should be considering him a guard. For the sake of this analysis I am going to continue analyzing him as a tackle.
He definitely has the height, arm length, and hand size needed to be an elite NFL tackle. Where he lacks is in the quickness category. His 3 cone drill and 20 yard shuffle were both too slow. In order to pass block against quicker defenders, a tackle needs to be nimble, quick, and solid in terms of technique. Unfortunately for Robinson, he isn’t quick or nimble, and his technique is suspect at best. This isn’t just what I saw from his combine performance, but it was also prevalent in his game film. But I don’t want to start with his flaws, I want to focus on some of his strengths first.
First of all Robinson is incredibly imposing physically. He looks like the biggest and strongest player on the field. In watching the Alabama- Texas A&M game, he lined up against Myles Garrett and handled him pretty well. I would say he won the matchup overwhelmingly. I think Garrett was battling injury, but Garret continually tried to out muscle Robinson but seemed unable to do so. It was also in this game that I saw some decent technique from Robinson. This is the only time I saw it in any of the game film I watched on him, but Robinson demonstrated almost perfect kick and post skills, the only problem he wasn’t punching properly on his posts.
For the most part, outside of missed assignments, and there were too many of those to be honest, he seemed to lock onto defenders and swallow them. This was especially true for defenders on the line. Another run blocking technique is to double with the guard, and then let the guard overtake, while the tackle moves to the second level. Robinson seemed uncomfortable doing this. To put it blunt, he weighs too much to be quick enough to lock onto linebackers in the open field properly. If Robinson loses 10-15 pounds he will likely be more fluid in the open field. I believe his ability to produce in the NFL will likely depend on his ability to get quicker and be more loose in pass blocking.
Robinson looks like a typical case of a player being so physically gifted that they haven’t needed perfect technique to be successful. If he is going to be successful in the NFL he will need to demonstrate better footwork in both his run blocking and his pass blocking.
He has all of the measurables needed to be successful but his weight is a concern. It’s clearly affecting his ability to block quick defenders, and it will become more of a problem in the NFL. He is 10-15 pounds heavier than the behemoth left tackles that have come before him.
I would say A+ but we haven’t seen his bench press numbers, but his tape indicated very good playing strength. Also, one thing that shocked me when watching game film is that he doesn’t drive defenders downfield as much as I would like to see for his build and strength.
His glaring weakness. It’s honestly going to be more than a weakness, it’s going to be a glaring flaw once he plays on Sundays.
His technique is woefully inadequate in all facets of the game.
He has a frame that few can dream of having. If he drops some weight, and improves on his technique he could be an excellent player, though he will most likely need to play guard or right tackle until he gets some of these weaknesses addressed. That being said, I don’t think he will reach this potential, it’s too much to do in too little time. If he can magically put everything together he could be the next Orlando Pace though I think the odds are much more likely that he turns into Luke Joeckel.
He currently isn’t NFL ready, and needs to fix his problems before he can make a meaningful impact for a team. Considering his upside, and the lack of quality tackle talent in this draft, expect to see him drafted in the first round, though he is a second round talent in my opinion.