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.

Seahawks’ Duane Brown explains the difficulty Seattle’s new-look OL faces

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.

What are the chances the Seahawks found a special player late?

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?

Jake & Stacy Show

Stacy Rost

Seahawks Steelers...
Stacy Rost

Rost’s 3 Seahawks Questions: Can struggling pass rush find success vs Saints?

As the Seahawks prepare for a key matchup against the New Orleans Saints, Stacy Rost looks at three key questions that could decide the game.
4 days ago
Seahawks Alex Collins...
Stacy Rost

Rost: The good, the bad and the ugly for 2-4 Seahawks

Stacy Rost puts the Seahawks' loss and 2-4 record into perspective, looking at Tre Brown's strong debut, the offense's slow start and more.
6 days ago
Seahawks Russell Wilson, Geno Smith...
Stacy Rost

Rost’s 3 Seahawks Questions: What does the offense look like without Wilson?

As the Seahawks enter Week 6 at 2-3, Stacy Rost looks at the three biggest questions this team faces before a showdown with the Steelers.
11 days ago
Seahawks Russell Wilson...
Stacy Rost

Rost: Seahawks have 2 serious problems — defense and Russell Wilson’s injury

The story that unfolded at Lumen Field Thursday night was similar to the last time the Seahawks played at home, for all the wrong reasons.
16 days ago
Seahawks Russell Wilson...
Stacy Rost

Rost: The 2 big questions Seahawks face vs Rams on Thursday night

One of the toughest games of the year for the Seahawks comes on a short week. Stacy Rost looks at the keys for Seattle vs. the rival Rams.
18 days ago
Seahawks Ryan Neal...
Stacy Rost

Rost: Defense, led by under-the-radar hero, carry Seahawks to big win over 49ers

The Seahawks' defense shouldered the blame in Week 3 vs. the Vikings, but Stacy Rost breaks down why they were the heroes against the 49ers.
21 days ago
Rost: Why Seahawks DE Alton Robinson is drawing lofty comparisons