The Detroit Lions were in need of a tough defensive tackle to help fill out their line after the losses of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. New Lions GM Bob Quinn got what, as of this moment, appears to be a steal in Alabama's A'Shawn Robinson. There's no doubt that A'Shawn was the most exciting pick the Lions made this year. After we learned more about Robinson from our pals over at Roll Bama Roll, it's safe to say we felt the same.
Now that the glimmer of the moment has worn off and it's time to get serious, we are going to take a look at what the best, worst and most realistic scenarios that the man who looks like B.A. Baracus may encounter in his rookie season.
Well obviously the best case scenario is that A'Shawn hits the ground running and puts forth an Aaron Donald-caliber rookie season. This would show Robinson transcend the usual rookie mistakes syndrome that so many seem to have and play like a five-year vet in his prime off the bat.
Outside of play, this would also pertain to Robinson's health.The best case scenario would have Robinson not miss a single game and have him take over the starting role. Finally, the best case scenario would have him get out of the shadow of Ndamukong Suh. Even though everyone's favorite stomper is out in South Beach now and most Lions fans want to move on, the comparison between Suh and Robinson brings it all back to the forefront.
In some ways the two are a lot alike: Brute strength with an infectious smile and harrowing mean mug. Robinson will have to do an awful lot to show he's a better player. In this scenario, he does.
The worst case is obviously the antithesis of the best case. In this scenario everything goes wrong and the wheels fall off before the car even gets rolling. This is the scenario that sees Eric Ebron fans rushing to their Twitters to call Robinson a bust and suggest that the Lions should have drafted somebody else. Like a tight end. Which would be weird wouldn't it?
Of course this scenario also entails that Robinson misses time with an injury. Any time missed at all is worthy of worst case scenario honors. In addition to injuries, Robinson just never seems to pick up on the pro game during the season. Missed opportunities and dumb flags become the biggest part of his game early and Lions fans begin to wonder what they've got themselves into with Bob Quinn.
The one redeeming factor about a worst case scenario is that there is always a chance to turn it into a best case scenario. Although one would have to wonder if that would be possible after such a mess of a season.
Now we can get down to the nitty gritty. In reality, I don't see either the best nor worst case happening for A'Shawn. It's not going to be that black and white for him. What I do see is a player that will be in the shadows of Suh all year and potentially for the rest of his career. Like it or not, many will see him as the direct replacement of the former Lions All Pro tackle.
But that won't affect him, at least not his play on the field. He might get annoyed by the questions about it, though. Going back to his play, I see a guy that is going to have some moments of brilliance in his rookie year, just little flashes of greatness that will make you excited for the future.
Aside from that, A'Shawn has a lot of growing to do as a player. I mentioned before that he has great strength. That strength is going to be fun to watch, but will also be quite sloppy. The one thing I noticed about Robinson quickly was that he needs to work on his technique. Here's a guy whose move is to simply push you out of the way with his muscles. That may have worked on the college level, but it won't always work in the pro game when you're lined up opposite Pro Bowl caliber offensive lineman.
Be prepared to see some growing pains and watch closely as Haloti Ngata takes the kid under his wing and shows him a thing or two about a thing or two. But, I can't stress this enough, he will not be a bust. Just a rookie learning the finer points of the game.
What do you think? Which scenario do you think Robinson will fall into? Be sure t let us know in the comments or come yell at me on Twitter @POD_Payton.