The thing about being a top-10 pick in the NFL is someone will always believe in you, until they can’t anymore.
Greg Robinson was the second overall pick of the 2014 draft, and he has been a bust. The Rams gave up on him after three seasons. The Detroit Lions, who needed a replacement for injured left tackle Taylor Decker early last season, traded for Robinson but he predictably didn’t play well, suffered an ankle injury and the Lions cut him. He appeared in only six games.
Robinson seemed to be out of chances as he was unsigned through this offseason, but someone will always take a shot on players drafted that high. The Cleveland Browns signed Robinson on Tuesday.
Robinson looks worse when you look at who the Rams passed on
Robinson turned out to be a bad pick by the Rams, but few argued it at the time.
Robinson was a good player at Auburn, then had an amazing combine workout. By the time the draft came around, it didn’t seem outrageous that Robinson would go No. 2 to the Rams.
It turned out to look like one of the craziest decisions of the decade. Here’s a list of the Pro Bowlers who were selected in the 15 picks after Robinson: Khalil Mack, Mike Evans, Anthony Barr, Taylor Lewan, Odell Beckham, Aaron Donald, Ryan Shazier, Zack Martin and C.J. Mosley. That doesn’t count Blake Bortles, Sammy Watkins, Jake Matthews and Kyle Fuller, who have all had their moments as NFL players.
While those players thrived, Robinson rarely showed the quickness to make it as a pass-blocking left tackle or the power to be a good run blocker.
Why are the Browns taking a shot?
The Browns aren’t burdened by what the Rams gave up to draft Robinson. He’s just a flier for them.
The Browns need a left tackle after Joe Thomas retired, and while it’s impossible to believe at the moment that Robinson can be Thomas’ replacement, maybe he could provide some depth. He has started 48 NFL games and has more athletic talent than any other offensive lineman looking for a job in mid-June.
None of Robinson’s physical gifts have translated in the NFL, but it’s not costing the Browns much to kick the tires. If he becomes a solid backup for the Browns, it’s a good move for them.
Likely the last chance for Robinson
Odds are, this is Robinson’s last shot to establish an NFL career. He was available for any team to sign for seven months before the Browns came calling. If he fails to show anything through training camp or the preseason on a team that went 0-16 last season, it’s hard to figure out another path for Robinson to build a successful NFL career.
But the light will be left on for Robinson longer than it should be, due to his draft pedigree. You can never entirely count out another team giving him a shot if this doesn’t work out.
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