Detroit Lions’ defensive tackle on the verge of hitting his prime

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 19: A'Shawn Robinson #91 of the Detroit Lions celebrates after defeating the Chicago Bears 27-24 at Soldier Field on November 19, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 19: A'Shawn Robinson #91 of the Detroit Lions celebrates after defeating the Chicago Bears 27-24 at Soldier Field on November 19, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Already looking like a grizzled veteran, defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson is on the verge of hitting his prime and ready to show out for the Detroit Lions.

Father’s Day was just this past weekend. Many of us fans probably spent the day outside, on a boat or in a pool or by a grill, talking about the future of the Detroit Lions with our fathers.

Speaking of fathers, there is a case to be made that A’Shawn Robinson has been the “team Dad” since coming to Detroit. One look at this 23-year-old and his massive beard is enough to confuse him for a 40-year-old father of three children.

But Robinson doesn’t only looks like a father too; he already like one too, acting as a mentor for young players like his former Alabama teammate Da’Shawn Hand. Robinson’s reunion with Hand should not only help Hand feel more comfortable in his rookie year, but it could also help Robinson develop chemistry and improve as a player as well.

The Alabama reunion doesn’t end with Robinson and Hand for the Lions. Earlier this offseason, the Lions hired Bo Davis to coach their defensive line, a job he had previously done for Robinson and Hand back in Tuscaloosa. It’s safe to say that having all three familiar faces back should help each other shake out the jitters and succeed at the professional level.

As mandatory minicamp started up this month, Davis already feels that he’s making strides with both guys, as they can practice while reminiscing about old times with the Crimson Tide.

"“I go with what I get and coach them up and help them become better players and get them to enjoy the game, which they already do,” Davis told Orion Sang of the Detroit Free Press. “(I’m) just working with them and working on technique and helping them to develop as players.”"

Lions fans should be intrigued to see how Robinson develops this offseason. With the gradual improvement he has seen from his first to second year, A’Shawn could be due for a breakout year in 2018.

In 2017, Robinson showed significant improvement in terms of quickness off the snap, getting a jump on the offense and being able to hold the point of attack more consistently.

These quickness improvements led to a boost in stats for Robinson, as he was able to avoid the NFL sophomore slump. He started every game in 2017, and while his sack totals didn’t improve, his solo tackle and assisted tackle numbers improved by double digits in each respective category.

Robinson should also see improvement due to the shift in defensive scheme by the Detroit Lions. With the Lions shifting from a 4-3 to a 3-4, Robinson will get more time playing the nose tackle.

Out of every linemen on the Lions roster, he’s probably the most likely to succeed from that position. A nose tackle is every center’s worst nightmare at the point of attack, especially when said nightmare is an enormous 6-foot-4 and 322 pounds.

In this new scheme, Robinson will be asked to hold both the A gaps in the interior of the line. As hard as that task sounds, it is what he is more comfortable with, as that’s the role he played in his time with Alabama. He knows how to play his role, and now has a chance to excel in it.

If there was any time for Robinson to finally breakout and live up to his draft day hype, now is better than ever. He is entering his third season in the NFL, which tends to be the year when many players finally find their professional footing and perform to their maximum capacities in their respective roles.

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For A’Shawn Robinson to have a career year in 2018, he needs to continue to improve on his quickness, as well as getting better stamina as a pass rusher. But with his old favorite college coach back and his new role in the center of the defense (literally and figuratively), Detroit Lions fans should keep an eye out for the breaded beast.