Oklahoma G Duke Robinson (Sooner Sports)
As the 2009 NFL Draft approaches, the editorial staff at Buffalo Rumblings will profile draft prospects that may end up being potential targets of the Buffalo Bills. Continuing our look at offensive linemen, this morning we profile Oklahoma guard Duke Robinson.
With the Buffalo Bills likely preparing to deal with finding a new left tackle, many folks are neglecting to properly recall the fact that the team still has a glaring hole open at left guard as well. Even if the Bills shift Brad Butler to the left side to play next to a rookie left tackle, they'll have a spot at right guard to fill. Amongst draft prospects at guard, Oklahoma's Duke Robinson is most frequently referenced as the best of the best at the position this year.
Joining us this morning is ccmachine, lead blogger at SB Nation's Oklahoma sports blog, Crimson and Cream Machine. He's here to help us get a little first-hand knowledge on Robinson the player and the man. Our scouting report for Duke Robinson is below.
Duke Robinson - Offensive Guard, Oklahoma
6'5", 329 pounds, 5.27-second 40 yard dash
Strengths: Very stout at the point of attack... Big, powerful frame with long arms... Physical and finishes his blocks well... Easily the draft's most dominant run blocker in terms of interior linemen... Solid technique, in particular with his hand placement and his ability to anchor... Pretty solid football IQ... Has plenty of experience.
Weaknesses: Decent, but not overwhelming, agility... Isn't overly adept at getting to the second level... Not a tremendous athlete; exhibits poor footwork... Relies a bit too much on his natural talent and will get lazy; reaches... Struggles with quick defensive linemen... Is not a perfect fit in every blocking scheme... Is not a technician and isn't the type to out-technique a defender on a particular play... Has work ethic and desire questions surrounding him... Has been labeled by more than one scout as "immature".
NFL Comparison: Bobbie Williams, Cincinnati
Like Williams, Robinson is a run-first blocker that handles himself well as a pass blocker, but won't blow anyone away in that department. He's big and physical, yet hasn't reached his full potential yet. He's not the type of blocker that will fit into every type of blocking scheme, and that includes the Bills' zone-based blocking. Still, with the right system and the right coaching, he has a chance to become an elite road grader in a power rushing offense. He does, however, have to answer those work ethic/immaturity questions beforehand.
I asked ccmachine about Robinson's strengths, weaknesses, and supposed immaturity issues. The interview, as well as a Robinson highlight film, appear after the jump.
Rumblings: Robinson is pretty universally considered the best run-blocking guard available this year. Yet Oklahoma runs a pass-happy offense behind Sam Bradford. Was Robinson ever a liability as a pass protector?
ccmachine: Not really. Oklahoma’s pass offense is a quick-strike offense where quarterback Sam Bradford finds his target quickly and gets rid of the ball. Because of this, Oklahoma’s offensive linemen didn’t have to hold their blocks as long as a conventional passing attack would. That said, Robinson has been exceptional at both run and pass blocking the past two seasons for Oklahoma.
Rumblings: I've heard Robinson described as "immature", but have not heard any specific references to why. Was Robinson ever a problem off the field while at OU? Is there anything you're aware of that might be behind the "immature" label?
ccmachine: To my knowledge, Duke Robinson has not had any off the field trouble, and I’m not really sure why he’d get tagged with an immature label. The only thing that I can come up with is that possibly it speaks of him reaching his full potential. As good as he was, you always thought that he could be better. At 6'5" and 335 pounds, he’s a physical specimen, but he never really dominated the way a guy of his stature could. He also seemed to mentally check out on occasion by committing a false start at the most inopportune times. The upside to that is those issues should cure themselves through more experience.
Rumblings: Having watched Robinson play throughout his career, what would you consider the strong and weak points of his overall game?
ccmachine: His weakness (as mentioned above) is his tendency to jump the count and draw a flag. He’s also been criticized for slow footwork, but really worked hard in between his junior and senior seasons to drop a few pounds and get quicker feet. As you already know, he’s a very solid run blocker and can hold his own against the pass rush as well. However, I believe that his greatest strength is his upside. Duke will have a long NFL career and he’s yet to tap into his full potential.
Robinson highlight video:
Does Robinson "Fit the Bill"?
If you're asking me, I'm answering in the negative. I've grown weary of high-talent linemen that never reach their full potential (Dockery, Mike Williams, etc). Give me a blue-collar worker in the trenches that won't complain, hustles his butt off and doesn't complain. I like Robinson's raw tools, don't get me wrong, but he's not close to a perfect marriage with Buffalo's blocking scheme. He would struggle as a rookie, particularly in pass protection. Robinson needs to be in the right situation to excel out of the gate, and if you're asking me, Buffalo is not the right fit. I'd pass - but I certainly wouldn't complain if the Bills did take him, as it could be viewed as a sign that the team will be more committed to the run game in '09.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and any further questions you might have regarding Robinson below in the comments section.