While they weren’t able to access some of the top defensive end talent in the first round of the draft, the Seahawks still addressed the need in the later rounds. After trading up to take Darrell Taylor of Tennessee in the second round, the Seahawks added another defensive end with their fifth-round pick (148th overall), which they acquired in a trade on Friday, to selected defensive end Alton Robinson out of Syracuse.
With the selections of Taylor and Robinson, that gives the Seahawks six defensive ends on the roster. They brought back their former first-round pick Bruce Irvin and another former player Benson Mayowa via free agency to go with returnees Rasheem Green and Branden Jackson and last year’s first-round pick L.J. Collier, who barely played.
The Seahawks still have a standing contract offer for Jadeveon Clowney, but it’s clear that they are preparing for the likelihood that he won’t be back in 2020.
Let’s get to know Syracuse’s pass-rushing specialist …
Name: Alton Robinson
College: Defensive End
The Skinny: Robinson ran the third fastest 40-yard dash time of all defensive ends at the NFL combine with a 4.69. He also has above-average quickness, showing a burst off the line of scrimmage. However, he is limited in his pass-rushing repertoire, relying on that quickness to get around blockers and to the quarterback. He doesn’t possess the requisite refined counter moves needed for success against NFL tackles.
At 6-3, he doesn’t have quite the length or leverage of other defensive ends, but he does have enough strength to handle the position. There has been criticism about his run defense and inconsistency in techniques and instincts at the point of attack. But Seattle is getting him for the pass-rushing potential and will likely be used as a rush specialist in passing situations. His speed and quickness allows him to close on quarterbacks and ball carriers once he gets free.
How Robinson ended up at Syracuse is a story with some questionable decisions. A native of Converse, Texas, he was committed to attend Texas A&M, but was forced to find a new school to play for after his scholarship offer was rescinded by then head coach Kevin Sumelin due to a robbery charge. The charge came following an altercation with his girlfriend at the time, taking her purse and cell phone in an argument. It was the second of such instances and he was charged with second-degree robbery despite returning the phone a day later. The charge was lowered to two misdemeanor charges and they were eventually dismissed due to an uncooperative witness. With few options so late in his senior year, Robinson decided to attend junior college at Northeast Oklahoma A&M. He played there one season, amassing 14 sacks and signed with Syracuse a year later after Oklahoma State’s board of directors wouldn’t approve his admittance.
In three seasons with the Orange, he tallied 115 tackles, 32 tackles for loss and 19 sacks. As a junior he had 17 tackles for loss including 10 sacks. But his production fell off his senior season.