Auburn spring questions: Replacing Greg Robinson at left tackle

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 15, 2014 

Former Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson was taken with the second overall pick by the St. Louis Rams in this year's draft.

LAUREN BARNARD — Auburn University

Auburn's spring practice starts March 18. But as with any team, the Tigers have questions they'll try to answer in various areas. In that vein, beat writer Ryan Black has come up with 10 queries, looking at position battles, individual players and everything in between. The series continues by looking at the vacant left tackle position.

Who will protect Nick Marshall's blind side now that Greg Robinson is off to the NFL?

Understand that this question is a bit nuanced. Yes, Auburn will eventually settle upon a replacement for Robinson. But to expect the aforementioned successor to become one of the top picks in the NFL draft — as is expected of Robinson this May — would be an unrealistic expectation.

That being said, the Tigers have plenty of players who are more than ready to jump into the fray. At this point, we know of four players who will at least get a look at left tackle this spring: Avery Young, Patrick Miller, Shon Coleman and Robert Leff. Others who could work their way into the mix include Will Adams and Shane Callahan.

It would seem that Young is the longest shot to get it, at least if one carries the train of thought that the coaching staff wants to leave things be, letting him remain at right tackle, where he started the final 10 games last season. But if they move him over, that could allow Miller to return to right tackle. He topped Young in their mano-a-mano competition for the starting job during last year's fall camp and was in the lineup for the first four games of the season.

The coaching staff, and particularly offensive line coach J.B. Grimes, have always been particularly high on Coleman, and with Robinson gone, the former five-star prospect will (presumably) have far more reps with the first-team to prove himself.

Until the team actually begins the spring and starts to whittle down the candidates at the spot, things are almost impossible to predict with any amount of certainty.

If you find yourself wanting to read even more about this spot, you can check out a breakdown of every returning tackle, a projection of the possible depth chart and another centered around Young's potential move to the left side.

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