By Hays Carlyon (1010XL Jaguars reporter)
Jaguars boss Tom Coughlin has a clear vision to boost the offense’s physicality.
He’s raiding the SEC West to do it.
A day after selecting LSU running back Leonard Fournette with the fourth-overall pick, the Jaguars beefed up their offensive line. The team took Alabama left tackle Cam Robinson in the second round.
“It’s going to be really cool [blocking for Fournette],” Robinson said. “I’ve known Leonard for a while. We came out of high school in the same class, both from Louisiana. He was the No. 1 player in the state. I was the No. 2 player in the state. It’s going to be fun.”
The draft speculation around Robinson focused on where he would line up in the NFL, with many suggesting a move inside to guard.
Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell was clear minutes after the pick.
“He’ll be left tackle,” Caldwell said.
That is a bold statement. The Jaguars acquired veteran left tackle Branden Albert from Miami in a trade in March, sending the Dolphins their seventh-round pick.
Albert is not participating in the voluntary portion of the offseason program and still has not communicated with coach Doug Marrone.
“They’ll compete,” Caldwell said. “They’ll compete for the spot. … I think we’ll leave [Robinson] at tackle for the time being. Never say never, but he’s got the skillset to move inside if that’s what you’re asking.”
The Robinson selection officially puts Albert on notice. Based on Caldwell and Marrone’s comments, Robinson seems to have an excellent shot to start the regular-season opener at Houston on Sept. 10.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a reaction, but we got to make sure that we got our bases covered,” Caldwell said.
The 6-foot-6, 322-pound Robinson started all 43 games of his three-year career with the Crimson Tide.
“He came in as a true freshman and played,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “That’s not an easy task in the SEC, having coached in the SEC for two years. One of the things that I have always appreciated is that he always played.
He played through little things during the year and in the offseason he would go ahead and get himself better and get ready and go again. There is something to be said about a player like that. He is a young player. I think he is still developing, obviously.”
The Jaguars worked Robinson out privately earlier this month. Caldwell said the workout confirmed that Robinson has the movement skills to be a left tackle for the Jaguars.
“When you see him move in-person,” Caldwell said. “When you saw him live and saw his feet and see how quick he is and how big he is and how much room he has to grow, too. You look at him and it’s a big man.”
The Jaguars wanted Robinson so badly they traded to secure his services. They moved up a spot with Seattle to take
Robinson at No. 34 sending the Seahawks their sixth-round pick.
“It was a sixth-round pick and we felt the value was there to go get him,” Caldwell said. “We feel the guy can be an eventual starting tackle for us. It was worth a sixth-round pick especially considering the grades we had on him.”
Robinson is the most battle tested tackle in the draft. He went up against many defensive ends already in the NFL, as well as a couple that were selected in Thursday’s first round in Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett and Tennessee’s Derek Barnett.
Caldwell said Robinson gave up nine pressures and two sacks all season, while going against “some of the best guys in the country.”
Robinson said there’s no question he’s the most prepared tackle in the draft for the NFL level.
“The defensive ends that I’ve been going up against, not just this past season, but since I was a 17- or 18-year-old freshman, you know, I think is really unmatched by anybody,” Robinson said. “The competition I’ve been going up against is unmatched by anybody, so I’m just looking forward to getting in and going to work.”
(You can email Hays at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon).