When the Detroit Lions made the swift move of trading a sixth-round pick to the Los Angeles Rams for offensive tackle Greg Robinson, everyone was taken aback. While many Lions fans were thrilled with Bob Quinn’s aggressiveness for addressing their troubled left tackle situation after Taylor Decker’s injury, others were very concerned about how poorly the former second-overall pick played with the Rams.
To help gauge how Lions fans should be reacting to the news, I contacted “3k” over at Rams blog Turf Show Times to give us the lowdown on Robinson and what went wrong over the past three seasons.
1) The Rams decided not to pick up Robinson's fifth-year option and had already moved him away from left tackle. Is it safe to say he wasn't going to be a Los Angeles Ram in 2018?
Absolutely not. In hiring a new coaching staff led by Sean McVay, the Rams are in the midst of a personnel overhaul that will shed much of the core of the roster from the Jeff Fisher years. McVay and Co. don't want their careers tied to the players from the previous regime, and Robinson (along with QB Jared Goff) was at the center of that effort. Given the quality of his play in his three years, there was no way he was going to get a second contract from the Rams especially after signing Andrew Whitworth in free agency this offseason.
2) What exactly went wrong with Robinson after being such a highly touted prospect?
For one, penalties. He's been the most-penalized player in the NFL in the last two seasons with far too many false starts (seven in the last two seasons) and offensive holding calls (21). While that's been overwhelming, his play has been subpar as well. Coming out of Auburn as a RS sophomore, he projected well as a power blocker. He helped Auburn get to the BCS Championship (what's the opposite of RIP? Rest in eternal conflict? Yeah, take that, BCS) in 2013 largely by anchoring the option offense they leaned on. Hell, the Rams even took RB Tre Mason in the same draft as Robinson to try and sift that combo through an NFL sieve and see what came out. It just never materialized. Robinson never developed into a successful power blocker in the run game and his pass game technique was wildly deficient at best.
3) Is there anything redeeming about Robinson's play over three years with the Rams? Any reasons Lions fans should be optimistic? Please say something nice about him.
Haha, well, I think if you go back to the tape from college, you see a ton of potential. There are tons of reasons he went No. 2 overall. So perhaps there's legitimate potential untapped, but he's now in his fourth NFL season. Rams fans will find it impossible not to liken his career to his predecessor in Jason Smith, the No. 2 overall pick from the 2009 NFL Draft who similarly flamed out with the Rams. I think it will take a massive effort from your coaching staff to help Robinson avoid the same fate as Smith who left for the Jets after three years for a single season and was out of the NFL entirely not long after.
4) Is Robinson better as a run blocker or a pass blocker?
Well, I would say his skill set lends itself to run blocking. The problem is that by failing in that aspect over the last three years, perhaps that's the bigger issue than being a poor pass blocker. But yes, if you're looking to salvage something from his abilities, it's likely going to come in the run game.
5) How are Rams fans reacting to this trade?
Thanks to 3k for his answers and be sure to head over to Turf Show Times for their reactions to the Greg Robinson trade and all of your other Rams needs.