Needing a boost to their pass rush, could this second-year defender be the distributive force the Detroit Lions need in 2017?
With prominent pass rusher Ziggy Ansah struggling with an ankle injury, the Detroit Lions ranked a lowly 30th (tied) in the NFL in sacks last season with 26.0 total. Yet, over the offseason, the Lions’ brass did little to upgrade their defensive line.
Instead, Detroit appears comfortable enough in their D-line to believe they’ll bounce back in 2017. One player they are certainly hoping has a bigger impact this season is second-year defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson.
Drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Robinson was a possible first round selection coming out of Alabama. And that was despite low production numbers and inconsistent play in college.
A better run defender than a pass rusher, Robinson posted a career-total of just 9.0 sacks during his three seasons at Alabama. In his first year with the Lions, the 22-year old didn’t get his first start until Week 12 against the Minnesota Vikings. But he ended up starting in five of Detroit’s final six games of the regular season and in the Lions’ playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
With another offseason training program under his belt, the Lions are hoping Robinson takes another step up in his development this year.
"“With Tyrunn Walker gone and Khyri Thornton suspended the first six regular-season games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, Robinson appears poised for an expanded role,” wrote James Hawkins of The Detroit News. “While the Lions didn’t make any significant moves to address their poor pass rush, Robinson could become a disruptive force if he improves his pass-rushing abilities to match his run-stopping prowess.”"
A’Shawn Robinson recorded a total of 30 tackles, seven pass defends and 2.0 sacks during his rookie campaign in the Motor City. And he had a career-high seven tackles in his first postseason game. Due in part to the experience he gained at the end of last season, Robinson appears to be primed to make a much bigger impact for this Detroit Lions’ club in 2017.