Rost: Why Seahawks DE Alton Robinson is drawing lofty comparisons

May 28, 2020, 12:55 AM | Updated: May 29, 2020, 10:10 am
Seahawks DE Alton Robinson...
Alton Robinson was the second of two pass rushers the Seahawks drafted in April. (Getty)

Chasing a solution to a struggling pass rush has been a theme of the Seahawks’ offseason – particularly while the league’s top free agent, Jadeveon Clowney, remains unsigned.

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If Clowney doesn’t land in Seattle, expectations will inevitably rise for a remaining group that includes free-agent additions Bruce Irvin, Benson Mayowa, young linemen L.J. Collier and Rasheem Green, and bounceback candidate Jarran Reed.

That group now also includes defensive ends Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson, who were selected by the Seahawks in the draft. Taylor has drawn plenty of attention, being Seattle’s second overall pick, but what if it’s Robinson who turns out to be a steal?

Former Seahawks scout Jim Nagy called Robinson the best value-pick for Seattle, and 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps said the rookie has ability that reminds him of former Seahawks edge rusher Cliff Avril.

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What you need to know

The 6-foot-3, 260-pound Robinson racked up 17 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in 2018. Those numbers went down in 2019 – nine tackles for loss and four sacks – but Robinson remained disruptive.

“His numbers were down a little bit this year sack-wise but his influence wasn’t,” Nagy said during an interview with Tom, Jake and Stacy.

That drop might’ve resulted in his slide into the fifth round, but it’s far from a consensus grade.

“We’ve had Day 2 grades on Alton Robinson since last summer,” Nagy said, indicating he could have been selected in the second or third round. “I mean, that dude can rush the passer.”

Robinson’s strengths (and a weakness)

“I think this guy is very unique, very intriguing,” Heaps said in his own profile of Robinson on Tom, Jake and Stacy. “He’s got explosive get-off and great anticipation of snap counts. Honestly, it was reminiscent of watching Chris Clemons, Cliff Avril, and Michael Bennett in terms of their ability to anticipate the snap count and just beat the tackle before he has a chance to get out of his stance. That’s the type of ability Robinson showed…

“He is a big, compact guy who does bring a lot of power, but he didn’t display that enough to me,” Heaps continued, though he added he loves Robinson’s competitive attitude. “I don’t think he comes in and is going to be your starting pass rusher off the edge. But what I do anticipate is that he’s going to be very effective on passing downs.”

The big question

Can Robinson make an immediate impact as part of a defensive line rotation? It won’t be easy to beat out the competition ahead of him. According to Heaps, Robinson will be competing with Mayowa – a seven-year NFL veteran – for the backup LEO spot in pass-rushing situations.

“If he shows off that explosive nature and that ability and that attitude, don’t be surprised if you see him playing more than Mayowa,” Heaps said.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Stacy Rost on Twitter.

More Seahawks draft pick profiles

Fourth round: Keys to success for RB DeeJay Dallas with the Seahawks
• Fourth round: Colby Parkinson has the tools to be a good receiving TE
• Third round: Guard Damien Lewis may be new version of an old favorite
• Second round: Darrell Taylor ‘the edge rusher they wanted all along’
• First round: How will linebacker Jordyn Brooks fit in on defense?

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Rost: Why Seahawks DE Alton Robinson is drawing lofty comparisons