The Buffalo Bills could sure use an upgrade at right tackle. While Cordy Glenn is rock-solid on the left side, Jordan Mills had a weak season as the starter on the other bookend. Seantrel Henderson barely saw the field as he contended with the NFL’s anti-marijuana policy and his treatment for Crohn’s disease, and Cyrus Kouandjio appears to be earmarked for a very narrow “backup left tackle” role, possibly due to a medical condition with his knees.
Maybe it’s time for the team to look to another Alabama left tackle to solve their offensive line problems. If they want a road grader for their line, they should be checking out Cam Robinson.
Robinson grew up in West Monroe, Louisiana. He was twice-included on the All-State selection team, and was named a high school All-American as a senior. The unanimous number one offensive tackle in his recruiting class committed to Alabama over LSU.
Robinson started for the Crimson Tide as a true freshman at left tackle, the first one since Andre Smith in 2006. He never relinquished that position over the course of three seasons in Tuscaloosa.
In May 2016, Robinson was one of two players arrested on charges of felony possession of a stolen gun and marijuana. Police officers approached his parked rental car, where he was sitting with three other people. Ultimately, the prosecution dropped the case when details showed that only half a gram of marijuana was in the car, and there was no evidence to prove that the gun found in the car was possessed by Robinson or the other player.
Or maybe he’s just an Alabama fan:
I'm dismissing this case because I refuse to ruin the careers of two young men who worked very hard ... to obtain the ability to play a game and therefore make themselves more upwardly mobile," the district attorney told The News-Star.
Robinson is one of the most athletically talented linemen in this draft, and he has the trophy shelf to back that up. He was named a freshman All-American, and had a tremendous season in 2016, earning the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the best lineman in the SEC, and the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best offensive lineman.
Standing six-foot-six, Robinson is expected to weigh in on a spectrum between 310 and 330 pounds at the NFL Combine. He has a frame that could carry 325 pounds without losing a lot of fluidity.
Robinson probably won’t star in the 40 yard dash, but he will pace the field in the bench press, and is expected to hang with the pack in each drill where he participates.
This is where Robinson will make his money on draft day and beyond. He has massive power in his hands and core, and is a relentless blocker on the edge. He’s excellent on double team plays, his down blocking is fantastic, and he doesn’t get driven back.
Robinson is one of the best goalline blockers I’ve seen, knowing the perfect angles to attack for an easy two yard gain.
Robinson has a low pad level and rarely loses the leverage game as a run blocker. Occasionally he will overreach and get his weight in front of his feet, causing him to lose his balance.
Robinson has come a long way in this department over the last three years. As a sophomore, he sometimes struggled with creating a solid anchor and playing with his feet under him - independent charting at CFB Film Room tagged him with 12 hurries, 5 hits, and 9 sacks allowed, one of their worst pass blocking efficiencies measured in 2015. By 2016, he had improved those numbers to 4, 2, and 2 respectively, placing him in the 90th percentile among their charted linemen.
Robinson has a great kick slide with quick foot movements. He has a strong punch and great grip strength, making it very difficult for his opponent to win with power off the bat. His clean footwork helps him redirect speed rushers behind the quarterback, and he doesn’t usually lose to spins or counter moves either.
Robinson is always looking for work, and if he doesn’t have a target in front of him he’ll support teammates with combo blocks.
The same issue with his run blocking will occasionally manifest in his pass blocking: He’ll sometimes push so far forward that he’ll get off balance, leading to pressure.
Fluidity in space
This is a really good quality of his, regardless of what the Combine might suggest. Robinson is excellent at getting up to the second level and blocking. I’ve seen him line up effectively against both linebackers and safeties - it’s not an easy task for a lineman.
I can’t speak to Robinson’s ability to pull across the line, since there wasn’t a large enough sample in the plays I watched. But moving toward the left sideline, he was very effective operating in space and opening lanes for his runners.
You may hear a lot that this is a weak offensive tackle class. In some respects, that’s true: You don’t usually see a 25 year old (Garrett Bolles) or a one year transfer from Division III football (Ryan Ramczyk) or mid-major starters (Taylor Moton, Antonio Garcia) listed in the top five of an offensive tackle ranking.
Robinson is there to hold down the fort as this year’s token five star SEC All-American prospect. He’s not perfect, and a little rough around the edges, but the mauler will fit right in with most offenses around the league.