Greg Robinson stormed onto the scene as a redshirt sophomore as the biggest reason the Auburn Tigers were able to run the ball at will. Combined with talented runners and a great offensive scheme by head coach Gus Malzahn, Robinson was a bull dozer that was able to clear space and create huge running lanes at times, despite still being raw as a blocker. Financial concerns forced Robinson to leave college after the remarkable season, but had he stayed in college, Robinson is the type of overwhelming talent at the offensive tackle position that would have warranted discussion in the Heisman Trophy race.
For the NFL, Robinson is prototypical as an athlete and not just meets, but exceeds basically all of the goals a team would have for their blindside protector. His ability to be an earth mover in the running game makes Robinson appear to be a weapon in an offense, but he is still inconsistent at times. His pass protection is a little dicier at this point with a lot of issues with technique and comfort. Robinson has a chance to be the first offensive tackle off of the board because of his remarkable physical tools that could ultimately land him in Canton one day, but if a team opts for a more immediate impact as a rookie, he could a few spots.
Vitals & Build
Robinson measured in at 6’5” 332lbs at the scouting combine with 35” arms. Physically, he is the prototype with incredible size and length. Robinson has demonstrated impressive strength and even when he is not able to maximize his functional strength, he can show remarkable power. He is remarkably light on his feet and just has rare tools for a player of his size. Robinson’s potential is largely in maximizing what he already has, but given his dimensions, there is little reason to think he cannot continue to get stronger.
Robinson’s overall athletic ability is on par with just about anyone in this draft when considering weight. His speed both going forward and laterally is rare and he demonstrates the range to play left tackle in the NFL. There is not much Robinson cannot do when it comes to his athleticism and ability to slide, pull or get to the second level. In many ways, he is simply a marvel.
Robinson’s a force in the running game, producing dramatic and impressive results throughout games. However, with as many highlight plays as he has and can generate, he is also inconsistent with his assignments, hitting his target and landing the block. The result is he ends up being a hit or miss player far more than he should be.
Robinson can get behind his pads and shows unbelievable strength and in almost every situation where he gets contact on the opponent, he is going to move them off of the line and create space for the running game. As a result, running behind him was almost always a good decision.
Robinson blocks down like a bull dozer and just knocks opponents down, sometimes sending a chain reaction of opponents, clearing space and giving the ball carrier a ton of space. He can get around, kick out and get to the second level. There are certainly examples where he can land a block at the first level and either shock them or simply knock them down before going to the next level and doing the same to a linebacker.
A couple of issues pop up with Robinson. In an effort to get behind his pads, he can end up lunging forward, getting too far over his pads and getting himself off balance. When he hits the target, with rare exception, they are going backward if not simply knocked to the ground. In situations where he makes a glancing blow, misses the target altogether or the opponent is prepared for it, they will use his forward momentum against him and push pull or just duck out of the way and let his momentum put him on the ground or in a position where he is unable to block effectively. Robinson ends up on the ground far more than he should. Considering his remarkable strength and power, it is bizarre how often this occurs as he seems capable of bullying the opponent without putting himself at such a risk.
There appear to be some situations where Robinson gets lost in where his assignment is and ends up not blocking anyone. Some of this could be caused by the option nature of the Auburn offense, but nevertheless, it is difficult to fathom there are too many legitimate situations where he is simply without an opponent to block.
He runs his feet well and there are a number of examples where he is able to drive opponents all the way down the field if he wanted. His angles can occasionally get him in trouble as there are times when he opens the door for an opponent to slice in and make a play. Robinson can be too reliant on his upper body at times and not keep his feet moving which can cause some of his issues falling over forward.
Robinson is so dangerous and so powerful that Auburn could live with the misses because the hits were so overwhelming and were a huge reason they were able to run the ball. Nevertheless, if he can improve his consistency and eliminate those mental mistakes and getting too far his own feet, he becomes that much better and more ferocious.
Robinson’s pass protection is a work in progress and he has a lot of problems to address and improve. His feet, ballast, and wingspan are terrific and he has all of the tools to be fantastic in this area but it will take time and effort.
Robinson will run into problems where he stops his feet and leans too much, getting off balance and allowing opponents to get around him. He needs to be better with his hands and punch as he gets shed too often. Too often, he tends to grab and block near the outside of the opponents shoulders, leaving him open to get called for holding penalties. There are a lot of blocks that were borderline and probably could have been called in addition to the ones that were.
Robinson seems to have some problems with bending effectively and reaching for opponents going low against him, which is not terribly surprising given his height, but his athleticism suggests it should be better. If he moves his feet better, it would be less of an issue, but just getting better with his knee bend and being able to punch and keep opponents out of the pocket. Robinson also tends to latch on when he thinks he has been beaten and has a tough time recovering. In the end, his instinct to protect his quarterback is good, but knowing when he needs to latch on and when he is able to keep working and stay in the play is still developing.
There are times when Robinson seems to get lost in space and not really comfortable with where he is standing. He does not always do a great job when it comes to keeping his head on a swivel and seeing where opponents are attacking from as well as having situations where he hesitates to engage when an opponent is close to him.
Getting better and more violent with his punch could allow him to jolt opponents more and let him get control. He catches a little much and lets the opponent dictate the action. A lot of this comes with just not being terribly comfortable there yet and being so young. Nevertheless, it is critical that it be addressed as there were a significant number of pressures given up by Robinson and it will only get more difficult in the NFL, especially if he is expected to start, which is extremely likely.
Robinson is technically pretty raw. His unbelievable set of gifts allow him to be outstanding and dominant at times, but the lack of technical skill is what led to many of the issues he has had.
He needs to improve his punch and hand use, especially in pass protection. His angles in both the run and the pass need to improve as well as how he blocks opponents.
What makes Robinson such a scary prospect is that he was so impressive and dominant at times largely without technique. If he can become a technically proficient player, it becomes difficult to find a weakness.
Robinson’s feet are great and his footwork is solid but can improve. In pass protection, he just needs to keep moving his feet and not getting caught leaning. As a run blocker, he just needs to avoid getting too far over his feet and falling down; some of that is due to how he can lunge and some of that is by reaching and not running his feet.
There is no question he has the feet to play tackle and could be fantastic there. The more experience and coaching he gets, the better his footwork should get.
Robinson has the tools to play in any scheme, but his particular style of play is more suited to a gap scheme. The less space the opponent has to work in, the easier it is for Robinson to get a hold of them and just move them off of the ball. Nevertheless, he could be great in a zone scheme as well because of his athleticism.
With how likely it is he goes extremely high in the draft, it is difficult to imagine is anything but a starter and at left tackle but he may have to do quite of learning on the fly.
Robinson has the same kind of tools and incredible hype that Robert Gallery had when he was selected second overall by the Oakland Raiders in the star-studded 2004 NFL Draft. Gallery was a dominant run blocker in college who had the same type of highlight videos that Robinson does, but could not do the job in the NFL. He ultimately became a guard in his career where he played well, but not enough to make up for the investment. Much like with Gallery, Robinson has the talent to be great, but the questions with technique and consistency, if not fixed, could land him in the same conversation as Gallery.
Greg Robinson is the prototype in terms of physical skills, but he is still raw and learning the position. He is a tremendous piece of clay to mold, but it will probably come with some bumps along the way early on in his career, especially as a pass blocker. Nevertheless, Robinson’s immense upside warrants a first round pick, but he could end up going as high as the second pick of the draft. That would be a risky move, but if developed effectively, Robinson has Hall of Fame upside.
Some of the film used in this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com