Alabama’s A’Shawn Robinson projected to be first defensive tackle taken in NFL draft

There is no reason to think that A’Shawn Robinson won’t do well in NFL combine

A play late in Alabama’s 30-16 win over LSU last fall had no bearing on the outcome. That had been decided as the Crimson Tide defense put the clamps on the Tigers’ outstanding tailback, Leonard Fournette.

One of the defensive leaders for Alabama in that game was defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson. He did what he does best -- closing down the middle, making three tackles (two for lost yardage), and breaking up a pass. One NFL draft analyst was in “Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know all that. But is Robinson athletic?” mode.

Robinson answered that question when LSU lined up for a late extra point kick. On the snap of the ball, the 6-4, 312-pound Robinson did a flat-footed leap over the snapper, landed on his feet, and then blocked the extra point try. Is that athletic enough for you?

In year of great defensive tackles – perhaps half a dozen taken in the first round, including Alabama’s Jarron Reed, the best of the best appears to be A’Shawn Robinson, who elected to forego his final season with the Crimson Tide to enter the National Football League draft. He is in Indianapolis this week to show his athleticism and undergo interviews at the NFL combine.

He should do well, athletically and in the interrogations designed to measure things such as character. Robinson’s leap in the LSU game, for instance, is quite a different thing than former Ole Miss defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche puffing himself up and thinking he can fly out of a motel window.

Robinson was a regular as a freshman in 2013 and was Freshman All-America. He has started 28 of 29 games for Coach Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide over the past two years. In Alabama’s 2015 national championship season he was a consensus All-America and finalist for the Outland Trophy given to the nation’s outstanding lineman on offense or defense.

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