Without a doubt, playing left tackle and protecting a right handed quarterback is the most important position to an NFL offensive line. And for the Jaguars, they thrust their 2017 second round pick, Alabama’s Cam Robinson, into that spot.
First, the left tackle that they acquired from Miami, former Pro Bowler Branden Albert, had abruptly retired last August. And, that meant that Robinson would be shifted from his natural right tackle spot in college to the left side.
After a Jaguars OTA late this week, Robinson revealed how difficult that switch was to Florida Times Union writer Phillip Heilman, including what he’s learned for his second upcoming season:
“I’m a lot more comfortable,” he said. “The game is slowing down a lot. I know what I’m doing now. This time last year, I was out there just going off straight ability. Then I got a better idea of what we’re trying to get done, and that helped me play faster.”
Another interesting aspect of what Robinson believes was a short coming in his rookie year is getting stronger. This from a 6’6 320 lb tackle, who played for the premier college football program of the last 10 years in Tuscaloosa, AL. Still, he and Jaguars offensive line coach Pat Flaherty agree that he must get more strength in a key area.
Flaherty told the Times-Union, “The thing about players coming into this league is in their first year and second year, they find out what it takes,” Flaherty said. “A lot of [Robinson’s] strength coming out of college was in his legs, which is good for an offensive lineman. But you have to develop your upper body as well, which will give you balance and core strength. We’re seeing that.”
So, that has meant more time in the weight room and more time in weeks like this, even in a helmet and shorts. to start seeing it translate on the field.
Say what you want about the Leonard Fournette’s, the Calais Campbell’s and the Jalen Ramsey’s.
But, the Jaguars ability to block (and protect Bortles) is critical and Robinson’s development and improvement are going to be needed in 2018.
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