Football

NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. praises Alabama defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson

Former Fort Worth Arlington Heights and Alabama defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson is projected as a first-round pick if he decides to turn pro.
Former Fort Worth Arlington Heights and Alabama defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson is projected as a first-round pick if he decides to turn pro. Star-Telegram

A’Shawn Robinson hasn’t officially declared for the NFL draft yet, but most expect the defensive tackle to forgo his senior season at Alabama as a projected first-round talent.

The Fort Worth Arlington Heights product has until Monday to make it official and join the professional ranks.

Assuming he does, it would lead to a nice pay day. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. had the New Orleans Saints selecting Robinson with the 12th overall pick in his initial mock draft released on Thursday.

“A’Shawn Robinson is a guy who is an ideal player for today’s NFL,” Kiper said on a conference call with reporters Thursday.

“He showed this year he can get after the quarterback. He was stopping the run on the way to the quarterback. He made some big plays early in his career, then became a run stopper, then he became – after he dropped some weight – a better pass rusher this year.

“He can be a 3-4 end, you can move him around. He’s a hard-working guy. He’s a leader. He’s mature beyond his years.”

Robinson, a 6-foot, 313-pounder, established himself as a force inside the Alabama defensive line and helped bring it a national championship this season. He earned first-team All-American honors this past season, recording 3.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss.

Robinson has played in 42 games with the Crimson Tide over the past three seasons, totaling 133 tackles with nine sacks and 22 tackles for loss. He also had one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and five passes defended.

Robinson makes sense for the Saints, which ranked 31st in total defense last season.

Kiper also liked Robinson more than Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, who has off-field concerns after falling from a hotel window and being charged with drug possession last month.

“You know what you’re getting with Robinson,” Kiper said.

Drew Davison: 817-390-7760, @drewdavison

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