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Defense helped spark Lions OT Robinson

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Allen Park — New Lions offensive tackle Corey Robinson said he wasn't communicating with former teammate Devin Taylor during the draft process, but it wasn't long ago the two were doing the same thing at South Carolina practices.

As a redshirt freshman in 2011, Gamecocks coaches had the 6-foot-7 Robinson move from offensive line to defensive line, perhaps hoping to find another effective pass rusher with some length like the 6-foot-7 Taylor.

Robinson, however, didn't play that season, and as a sophomore, he returned to offense and started nine games at left tackle. He started 26 more at that spot as a junior and senior, and was selected on the seventh round by the Lions.

"I was kind of struggling with offense my freshman year," Robinson said during rookie minicamp last weekend. "The coaches did it as a move to just get me going, get me on the field and just get me going hard and everything like that.

"And it was a good process because I got to be over there with Devin Taylor, Jadeveon (Clowney) and all them, and I just kind of got to learn from them and see how they work and then kind of went with them and did everything they did."

For many offensive linemen, playing defense can help teach them the mindset of a defensive lineman. According to NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, one of Robinson's strengths is his ability to recognize twists from pass rushers and collect them as well as quickly set up to create advantage against speed rushers.

As a seventh-round pick, Robinson likely will have to round out his game to play, but the Lions have relied on rookies along the line the past two season. In 2013, undrafted rookie LaAdrian Waddle started eight games at right tackle, and last year, Cornelius Lucas started two at right tackle and one at left.

Waddle is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. If Lucas opens as the starter, Robinson or Michael Williams likely would be the top backup.

At rookie minicamp, Robinson said effort was the main thing offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn wanted to see.

"He's very understanding that we're young players, and we've got to learn and everything like that," Robinson said. "All he wants to see is effort out of us right now, and the rest will come."

And when organized team activities begin in two weeks, Robinson likely will have some matchups against Taylor.

josh.katzenstein@detroitnews.com

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