With arms that nearly stretch to 36 inches, South Carolina OT Corey Robinson has elite length to go with his 6-7, 320-pound frame. The question on Robinson is whether or not he will be able to handle the speed of NFL pass rushers.
Coming out of high school, Corey Robinson committed to The University of South Carolina with the intention of playing on the defensive line. It wasn't until after his redshirt freshman season that his transition to the offensive line was made. Looking back, Robinson is grateful for the opportunity he had, learning from some of the SEC's best, including last year's first overall pick, Jadeveon Clowney.
"It was real cool," said Robinson. "A lot of those players I played with are in the pros now such as Melvin Ingram and Travian Robertson. I just got to see how those guys worked. We had a great coach in Brad Lawing who really brought it out of us every day. He didn't let us have a day off where we just came out there and didn't get better. Every day I learned something new."
Although he may have enjoyed the camaraderie, Robinson was not getting any playing time. This prompted a switch back to offensive tackle, his primary high school position. The decision was rewarding as Robinson almost instantly grabbed hold of the left tackle position and never looked back, starting in 35 games, including all 26 between his junior and senior seasons.
"I was having fun on defense, but I just wanted to be on the field," admitted Robinson. "It didn't matter to me what position I was in. I just wanted to be on the field hitting somebody."
While overshadowed by teammate A.J. Cann, a highly touted guard who will likely be selected in the second round, Robinson proved to be a steady force in both the run and pass game throughout his three-year tenure at left tackle. Although his size and length suggest that Robinson would be a dominant force in the SEC, this was not always the case, leaving scouts and draft analysts such as ESPN's Mel Kiper with questions about his pro potential.
"Robinson has elite size, but can he handle the quick guys? Does he bend well enough? Does he have the feet? He has to prove all that to NFL clubs," Kiper said. "If he can't he'll be a day three pick."
Although he had hoped to compete and prove his abilities at the NFL scouting combine, Robinson was forced to sit out due to a meniscus tear in his right knee, an injury he played with throughout part of his senior season. Once he realized the severity of the injury after the season, Robinson had surgery on December 30th and was able to rehab in time for his pro day. While he impressed with a 40-time of 5.29 seconds, Robinson still showed a lack of agility, evidenced by his slow short shuttle score of 4.82 seconds.
There has been debate on where exactly Robinson will land in the upcoming draft. Some experts see him as high as a fourth-round pick while other have him at the bottom of the draft. Robinson's lack of foot speed have some pegging him as a right tackle at the next level, where he won't have to worry about elite speed rushers as often. Bills fans may remember some of the same questions raised about Cordy Glenn before he was selected in the 2012 NFL draft. The wide-reaching Glenn was projected as a first-round pick, but eventually slid to the Bills in the second round due to foot speed concerns. With many of the same questions, Robinson hopes to prove his doubters wrong and demonstrate his strengths at the next level.
"I think my size definitely sets me apart, said Robinson. "That's what everybody always says. I think I'm a good run blocker. I move people off the line and create holes. I think I'm a smart player. I can adjust during plays and recognize schemes and pick up blitzes and stuff. I think those are some of the things that set me apart."