By Jim Gehman, Player Engagement Insider
Jacksonville's rookie offensive tackle Cam Robinson, who was raised in Monroe, Louisiana, the home base of the reality TV series Duck Dynasty, wouldn't mind being on the ground floor of a dynasty himself. A Jaguars dynasty.
At 6-foot-6, 320 pounds, he would be a large part of it.
Always in the back row of school class photos, Robinson was a big kid who wanted to some day play in the NFL.
"Growing up, it was always something that was a goal of mine. Something I always wanted to do," Robinson said. "I was just kind of doing everything I needed to do to get to the next stage."
Robinson excelled on the field at the collegiate stage. Starting all 43 games at left tackle during his three years at the University of Alabama, he was a unanimous first-team All-America in 2016, and won the Outland Trophy as the nation's top lineman on offense or defense.
During the 2017 NFL Draft, the Jaguars may have won, as well. Robinson was still available after the first round, and Jacksonville acted quickly to change that. They traded their second (35th) and sixth-round (187th) selections to Seattle for the Seahawks' second-round (34th) pick and chose Robinson.
"I'm a southern kid. I've lived in the south my whole life, so I was definitely pretty happy to stay in the southeast region," Robinson said. "You're always going to be excited about getting drafted. I was a little disappointed, a little upset about slipping to where I slipped to. But I just wanted to kind of use that as a chip on my shoulder."
Robinson, who was originally slated to compete at left tackle with veteran Branden Albert, stepped into the starting role when Albert retired, reportedly changed his mind, and was then released by the Jaguars during training camp. The rookie has played as well as he did at Alabama, if not better, considering the increased level of competition. What has been the biggest difference between playing in college and the NFL?
"I think, honestly, it was the volume of the playbook," Robinson said. "But once you get that and you're able to figure out exactly what you're doing, you're able to play."
Besides demonstrating that he plays with an edge, Robinson has also impressed his teammates and coaches with his passion for the game, and helped the Jaguars win the AFC South, their first divisional title since 1999.
"We've got team goals that we're trying to accomplish and that we're working towards," Robinson said. "I play for a great team. I have great teammates, great coaches. So, I'm happy to be Cam Robinson."