Will this second-year lineman become the playmaker this injury-riddled Detroit Lions’ defensive line desperately needs this season?
When Alabama defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson fell to the Detroit Lions with the 46th overall selection in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the team knew what they were getting. The 6-foot-4, 322 pound Robinson was a first round talent whose lack of production and consistency allowed him to tumble down draft boards.
During his rookie season, Robinson showed flashes of why some considered him a first round selection that year. He posted 30 total tackles, seven pass defends and 2.0 sacks while starting in just five games for the Lions last year.
The 22-year old now enters his sophomore season in the Motor City. And more than ever this Lions’ team needs him to step up as a dominate force considering how ravaged by injuries the defensive line has become. With defensive end Kerry Hyder Jr. now lost for the season due to an Achilles injury, and players like Haloti Ngata and Ziggy Ansah currently sidelined, Robinson has suddenly become the focal point of Detroit’s young D-line.
And according to one insider, the young defender may be the playmaker this Detroit defense desperately needs right now.
"“A’Shawn Robinson could be in line for a good season,” wrote ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. “There was evidence of this during the preseason opener against Indianapolis, when he had two passes defended…Considering the Lions’ major questions at defensive end and with a pass-rush in general, a lot will be needed of Robinson to become a playmaker in the middle. There’s a chance he ends up becoming that.”"
Robinson looked absolutely unstoppable against the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday. But it’s unclear whether that was more a result of the young defender’s growth or the Colt’s poor offensive line. It was likely a bit of both. The New York Jets should provide a much better test for A’Shawn on Saturday night, as he’s certainly one to watch in Lions’ second preseason matchup.
At this point, A’Shawn Robinson should be a lock to become a Week One starter. And if he has grown into the consistent player many hoped he’d be coming out of college, this young man could be a nightmare for opposing offenses all season. And that’s certainly some rare good news coming out of this currently injury-plagued Detroit Lions’ roster.