Analyzing The Detroit Lions’ Acquisitions From The University Of Alabama.
This is the ninth article in a 12-part series that will examine which colleges have been the best at producing Detroit Lions in the 21st century. Today will be a look at Lions players from the University of Alabama.
Ramzee Robinson played significant time for two seasons at Alabama, in his junior and senior seasons. Over those two seasons, he played in 25 games and made 78 tackles to go along with four interceptions. His play in his final two seasons at Alabama prompted the Detroit Lions to draft him in the seventh round of the 2007 NFL Draft.
As an NFL rookie, Robinson saw very little playing time. He appeared in just six games and made seven tackles with no passes defended or intercepted. In his second season, he appeared in 13 games and made 24 tackles. He also defended one pass. He was cut by the Lions the following offseason and spent time in Cleveland and Philadelphia in his third season. He never appeared on an NFL roster after his third season.
Michael Williams played tight end for Alabama for four seasons. He appeared in every game of his four season collegiate career. He became known as a very good blocking tight end who could occasionally catch a few passes. He finished college with 51 receptions for 503 yards and seven touchdowns and was drafted in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.
Michael Williams spent his rookie season on injured reserve with a broken hand. The next season, Detroit did something unconventional and asked WIlliams to switch positions to offensive tackle. He would never actually play that position for the Lions though, as he became a reserve tackle. In 2015, Michael Williams was traded to the New England Patriots for a seventh round draft pick.
In his first season in New England, Williams switched back to the tight end position recorded his first NFL stats as he caught three passes for 26 yards. He tore his ACL the following season, and spent all year on injured reserve. Williams is still currently on the Patriots’ roster.
Cyrus Kouandjio started every game for Alabama at left tackle in his sophomore and junior seasons. After his junior year, he was named to the All-SEC team. He then decided to forgo his senior season and was drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.
Kouandjio played sparingly for the Bills in his rookie season, appearing in only one game. In his second year, he appeared in 12 games, but was only able to start two of them. He saw his first significant playing time in his third season, when he was able to start five games for the Bills at left tackle. Kouandjio actually played pretty decently in those starts, as Pro Football Focus ranked him the 29th best pass blocking and 34th overall tackle (both out of 74 players).
Kouandjio was released by the Bills earlier this offseason after a very strange incident in which he was found naked stumbling around a field by police. After Taylor Decker was injured, the Lions signed Kouandjio. Kouandjio is expected to compete for the starting left tackle position until Taylor Decker is able to return from injury.
A’Shawn Robinson played for three seasons at Alabama, contributing significantly in all of them. As a freshman, he played all over the defensive line and finished the season with 38 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He continued to be a good contributor for the next two years and finished his collegiate career with 133 tackles and nine sacks. He was drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.
A’Shawn Robinson has only played one season for the Lions, but showed a lot of potential in it. He played in all 16 games in 2016, starting five of them. He recorded 30 tackles and two sacks, while also leading the entire NFL in passes deflected by a defensive tackle, doing it seven times. He also started the Lions playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks and recorded seven tackles.
Robinson received a Pro Football Focus grade of 73.6, which they classify as an average player. Robinson is by no means a dominant defensive tackle, but he had a very solid rookie season and it is reasonable to expect him to improve upon it in 2017.
So far, Alabama has produced two Lions who did very little in their NFL careers, Kouandjio, who is looking to resurrect his career in Detroit, and A’Shawn Robinson, who has a ton of untapped potential. Although Alabama has been one of the best college football teams for years now, they are not great at producing Detroit Lions.