Here’s To You, Mr. Robinson

By Joseph Healy

Special to Pro Football Guru

So the Rams didn’t take a marquee, household name that is going to get casual fans fired up. They didn’t take someone that is going to do wonders for jersey sales. The Johnny Manziel rumors turned out to be a smoke screen and they passed on Sammy Watkins.

When the Rams took Auburn offensive lineman Greg Robinson, though, they got exactly what they needed to build not only for the next couple of years, but hopefully, for the long-term future.

The Rams have to think they’ve hit the offensive line lottery. Robinson will slot in nicely next to the returning Jake Long and Rodger Saffold, who they probably didn’t think they were going to get back after he initially signed a contract with the Oakland Raiders earlier this offseason. That’s a nice foundation up front.

Right away, Robinson is part of the answer to many of the questions the Rams have.

Concerned about the health of Sam Bradford? Robinson helping protect him will mitigate the risk of him getting hurt again. Worried that Zac Stacy is destined to be Steven Jackson 2.0 toiling for years behind poor offensive lines? Robinson will help keep that from becoming a reality. Afraid that the Rams will never get the most out of Tavon Austin if Bradford doesn’t have time to get the ball to him? Robinson is there for that too.

The term “safe pick” has become something of a curse word of late in the draft, but Robinson is also a safe pick in the best way imaginable. He doesn’t play a position that will require the offense to be tinkered with and his learning curve will be reasonable. He is about as “plug and play” as it gets.

There’s no doubt about it. The big man from Auburn makes the Rams better immediately.

He also will continue to make him better for years to come.

The thought floating around now is that the Rams will initially play Robinson at guard to get his feet under him and to let him excel at what he does best, blocking for the running game. Then, after Jake Long moves on, they will slide him over to left tackle, where the team expects him to be an institution for a decade. The move from guard to tackle isn’t unprecedented. Pro Football Hall of Famers Jonathan Ogden and Willie Roaf are two others that have done it and it worked out pretty well for them.

In the grand scheme of things, the selection of Robinson also says that head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead are committed to staying the course and building the franchise in the vision they have had from the start. They truly believe in Sam Bradford and they are convinced that getting him a little help, with their fearsome defensive front, will be enough to get the Rams back into the playoff conversation.

It would have been easy for the Rams to buckle under the pressure to take a big name like Johnny Manziel or to take an exciting offensive player like Sammy Watkins, but they stayed the course and took the player that fills the most needs for them right away.

It’s going to be quite some time before we know for sure what the future holds for the Rams under this regime. But with their first pick in 2014, the Rams got better.

Joseph Healy is a marketing writer by day and a sportswriter by night. He’s like a superhero in that way, but way lamer. You can follow him on Twitter at @Joe_On_Sports, or if you’re a fellow seamhead, you can read his work covering Miami Hurricanes baseball at CanesTime.com and Big Ten baseball at B1GBaseball.com.