ST. LOUIS — The No. 2 overall pick in last month’s NFL Draft has spent the past few weeks bonding with new teammates, trying to get to know a new city, learn a new playbook and transition to a new position.
That’s about it, Greg Robinson says.
The massive Auburn offensive lineman started for two seasons at left tackle for the Tigers, but he’s beginning his NFL career with the St. Louis Rams at left guard.
"It’s kinda tough, but it’s coming slowly," he tells FOXSportsMidwest.com. "Every day I’ve been improving. I would say I’m a little rusty at guard, but I’m getting better every day."
The 6-foot-5, 332-pounder has fit in nicely with the Rams’ offensive line during OTAs this week. If everyone is healthy to begin the season in a few months, Robinson will line up between veteran left tackle Jake Long and center Scott Wells, with Rodger Saffold at the other guard spot and Joe Barksdale at right tackle.
"He just adds more power to the line," Saffold says. "All we need is Jake and we pretty much get our complete line together, and then we start really meshing. He’s really just been kind of feeling his way out. He’s been turning some heads with a couple blocks here and there. He’s constantly improving."
Saffold, who signed a five-year contract with the Rams worth more than $31 million this offseason, describes the rookie lineman as a humble kid who works hard and is consistently asking questions.
As long as he does that, Saffold says, Robinson will continue to grow.
"I’ve just been getting to know a few of the guys on the O-line," Robinson says. "Jake has been really helping me. Scott, Rodger and Joe, they are all real cool guys and they are really just trying to help me out and bring me along to help me get accustomed to the offense."
It’s obvious that is something the 21-year-old is working on.
Auburn was dominant offensively during Robinson’s junior season last fall, but anyone who watched the Tigers’ SEC championship game win against Mizzou knows that the strength of that squad’s offense was running a limited number of plays that opponents couldn’t stop. Or at least Mizzou couldn’t on that day in early December.
Going from Gus Malzahn’s playbook to Brian Schottenheimer’s has been an adjustment so far for the big fella, along with the position transition.
"We had a select few (plays at Auburn), but it worked," Robinson says. "This is a full playbook and it’s something that I’m really going to have to work on and really learn in and out, because I’m sure they are not going to play nobody that’s not ready. But they threw me in the fire, and that’s something that I’m going to have to get used to real fast."
Robinson says he hasn’t played guard since high school, when he used to start at right tackle but would get moved to the guard spots at times depending on his team’s opponents.
Asked if he likes playing guard, the rookie paused before answering.
"Well," he says, "I can get my hands on them faster, so it’s something that I think I can grow to like. But I’m a little rusty. It’s been a while since I played guard."
Then he was told that Saffold made the switch from playing both tackle spots to guard last season, which the veteran did after returning from an injury following Barksdale’s emergence at right tackle for the Rams.
"Yeah, he told me it was hard for him at the beginning, but it’s something that he got accustomed to just over repetition and practice," Robinson says. "I think sooner or later it’s going to come."