By Alex Kozora
With the regular season over, our focus has shifted to the offseason. For the next few months, I’ll be providing scouting reports on prospects. Some the Pittsburgh Steelers may look at. Other top players that will be off the board before the Steelers select. All to make you as prepared for the 2014 NFL Draft as possible.
Another look at a top prospect. Auburn Tigers offensive tackle Greg Robinson.
Greg Robinson/LT Auburn: 6’5 305
- Big, prototypical size
- Young (redshirt sophomore) with upside
- Uniquely strong, loads of upper body strength
- Tremendous run blocker
- Uses size to seal/wash defenders on down blocks
- Dominates when asked to base block
- Gets his arms extended as a run blocker
- Surprising athlete, flashes a quickness of the ball in both phases
- Does well in space, can get to and stick to second level when playing with proper technique
- Shows knee bend in pass protection
- Played in tough conference against good competition
- Extremely raw
- Not a coordinated run blocker, major issues with carrying his lower half as a run blocker
- Lacks balance, on the ground much more than you’d like to see,
- Struggles to move laterally, bends at the hips when beat
- Awkward kickslide, may open gate too early
- Difficulty mirroring, can get beat on inside rushes/counters
- Feet stop on his punch in pass protection
- Will struggle to recognize stunts and pick up blitzes
- May lack killer instinct as a run blocker
- Doesn’t have a ton of experience
- Appears to be much heavier than his listed weight
- 25 starts at left tackle in his two year career
- 3rd team AP All-American in 2013
- 1st Team AP All-SEC in 2013
- Did not make All-SEC Coaches list as 1st or 2nd team
- Top ten ranked guard coming out of high school by ESPN/Rivals/Scout.com
- Did not play along the offensive line until junior year of high school, defensive lineman previously
- Occasionally used on the right side in unbalanced formations
Robinson is getting a ton of love as one of the top prospects. The upside is clear but he is overrated. His strength is ridiculous but his technique as a run blocker is sloppy. Look at all the time he is getting himself overextended, falling off blocks because he’s not bringing his lower half. On the ground too many times. He’s the left tackle, #73.
And those are just a few examples. Not even able to show how often it occurred in the Florida State game. Video hasn’t been uploaded anywhere yet.
Now, when it all comes together for him, he is a punishing blocker. Watch him work to the linebacker and finish with a pancake.
And a straight up base block of the EMOL.
Does the same here, sealing the end.
But it isn’t seen consistently enough.
Another aspect that hurts his value is the unlikelihood of him playing tackle. He’ll get eaten alive by speed rushers with his tendency to double over and difficulty mirroring. You can see him get flatback and unable to seal the edge, allowing a sack against Alabama.
Robinson will likely have to move to guard at the next level. Last year did see two guards selected in the top ten but that could more of an anomaly than a trend. Typically, guards aren’t valued as highly (see David DeCastro falling much farther than expected).
It speaks volumes that Robinson was not elected to the first or second All-SEC coaches’ team.
There are two caveats. He is relatively inexperienced with just 25 starts and only four years of action along the offensive line. It’s not shocking he is raw and means he’s got more room to grow.
And given Auburn’s blocking scheme, Robinson was asked to down block a lot on double-teams with the guard instead of blocking the five tech (he would often be unblocked if the run was away or always unblocked on a zone read to the left side). Put Robinson at guard in a true power scheme and he’ll flourish even more. Plus, he has the athleticism to pull.
It comes down to whether or not Robinson has the work ethic and desire to get better, something that can’t be quantified watching tape. The raw talent is there but his technique leaves too much to be desired to be considered a top prospect.
Projection: Mid-Late First Round
Games Watched: vs Georgia (Freshman), vs Alabama, vs Missouri, vs Florida St (Bowl)