If there's one mantra that rings true in the NFL, it is this: You can't teach size.
So it is with Travian Robertson, 6'4", 300+ plus pounds of defensive tackle. He barely played as a rookie, but as a seventh-round pick, none of us really expected him to. What made Robertson so promising from the moment he was selected was his size, his physicality and his ability to be a disruptive force in the backfield. It's too early to say what he'll be in the NFL, but that hasn't stopped me from becoming the president of his fanclub.
There's a couple of things working in Robertson's favor for 2013:
- The rotation is a year older. Vance Walker and Corey Peters are fairly young, yes. But Jonathan Babineaux is on the wrong side of 30, will probably continue to rotate out to defensive end and is entering the decline phase of his career. Peria Jerry will be 29 this season and has never shown that he can be a truly elite defensive tackle. There's room for a young guy to get some snaps.
- The Falcons know they need to improve their pass rush. Robertson needed some work on his instincts, but his ability to get into the backfield has never been in question. There's certainly room for him to get on the field on passing downs, because we have a couple of seasons at least which suggest that Jerry and Peters aren't solutions for that particular need.
I'm not suggesting that Robertson is going to become an elite player overnight, or at all. But I think he'll be a valuable one in 2013, and that he was drafted to help the Falcons address their relative lack of size and pass-rushing up front. I could see him getting snaps in 15 or 16 games, getting a couple of sacks and generally providing a disruptive presence up front. That's damn useful.
Your expectations for Robertson this season?