While the Seattle Seahawks have loaded up on pass rushers in 2021, defensive end Alton Robinson deserves to get more reps. In 2020, Robinson’s chances were inconsistent. In week 7 against the 49ers, Robinson was a starter. Four games later, Robinson played just 18 percent of snaps.
In Robinson’s one start last year, he had a sack and a tackle for loss as well as being in on three tackles. Seattle defeated the 49ers fairly easily 37-27. The win was not all because of Robinson, of course, but he was offered a chance to play and produced.
Off and on during the season, while Robinson played overall just 29 percent of defensive snaps, he seemed to show up at extremely important times. A fourth quarter sack in week three against the Cowboys helped slow a final drive by Dallas in an attempt to win the game. Dak Prescott was basically left with trying to throw a Hail Mary that was intercepted by Seattle. This may not have happened except for the sack by Robinson earlier in the drive.
Alton Robinson could be very important for Seahawks in 2021
Robinson did the same in week 15 against the Redskins. This was in a stretch where the Seahawks offense was struggling and the defense was the reason Seattle was still winning games. Robinson had another key fourth quarter sack that helped stop a drive that would have won the game if Washington had ended up with a touchdown.
Even with the limited snaps, Robinson finished fifth on the team with 4 sacks and seventh in tackles-for-loss with 5. Robinson had a greater efficiency in getting to the quarterback based on his number of snaps than teammate Benson Mayowa. And he was more efficient in getting tackles-for-loss than Carlos Dunlap.
My point in all this is not that Robinson is going to go from a fifth-round 2020 draft pick with limited reps in his rookie year to a Pro Bowler. That is unlikely to happen. But even with Seattle adding Kerry Hyder and Aldon Smith, Robinson needs an increase in snaps, not a decrease. Robinson is just 23 years old and should be with Seattle long after Smith has retired.
Robinson is going to help Seattle win a lot of football games in the future. Robinson is unlikely to get 50 percent of defensive snaps in 2021, like Mayowa did in 2020, but based on percentage if Robinson did he would wind up with 7 sacks. That number would have ranked first among defensive linemen on the Seahawks last year.
Alton Robinson needs to play more this year. By 2022 he could have earned a starting role. There’s no guarantee Carlos Dunlap will be back next year or Kerry Hyder and Aldon Smith might not even play this season because of off-the-field issues. Robinson could be very important and needs to at least be given a chance to prove that.