A Look At Defensive Tackle A’Shawn Robinson‘s 2017 Season Performance.
The Detroit Lions have a very interesting situation with defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson. When he entered the NFL in 2016, he was touted as an athletic defensive lineman with pass rushing upside. This is common with Alabama defensive lineman as they are not typically asked to develop pass rush ability, and rather are to be 2-gap space eaters on the interior of the line. Ironically, this is similar to the expected new system the Lions will run under new head coach Matt Patricia.
In 2017, Robinson showed improvement in his ability to anchor at the point of attack. This will be important for him going forward, as he is likely to play the bulk of his time near the center of the defensive line. In the Lions new system, it will be incredibly important for him to hold his ground as well as eating up blockers. The play design is typically to utilize the size of the interior defenders to eat up blocks, so that their linebackers are free to attack downhill.
This led to a production increase from 2016 to 2017 for the Lions third-year pro. Nearly doubling the amount of tackles on the season, as well as increasing tackles for a loss. While there was some dip in his sack total, he did maintain his top-end pass deflection count with 6 during 2017.
A’Shawn Robinson’s 2018 Outlook
The Lions new defensive line coach, Bo Davis, worked as the defensive line coach for Alabama when both Robinson and Lions 4th round pick Da’Shawn Hand. This familiarity could help surge Robinson’s development and consequently his production in the new scheme. While he has not put it together yet, with Robinson’s athletic ability, he could develop into a really nice pass rusher. He has yet to show on the field consistency with his hand fighting and ability to counter when his first move is stalled.
In 2018, we could see exactly that from Robinson. Many in the NFL world talk about the “third year jump”, where a player will have a big jump in production their third season in the NFL. For Robinson to stand out and make this jump in 2018, it will likely come from an improved pass rush ability, as it’s the part of his game that has the most room to develop. While he is nearly a lock to make the roster, his ability to rush the passer should be something watched closely by fans during the early parts of the 2018 season.