NFL

Rookie Robinson learning ropes at guard with Rams

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The Canadian Press
6/10/2014 6:10:20 PM
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ST. LOUIS -- Getting drafted second overall has got to be a heady feeling. Greg Robinson checked any ego at the door, learning quickly how to fit in with the St. Louis Rams.

The Rams plan on Robinson beginning his career at guard instead of tackle, where he starred at Auburn. The 6-foot-5, 332-pound Robinson has been a willing convert at a position he last played in high school in Thibodaux, Louisiana.

"Everything happens faster," Robinson said. "I can get my hands on them faster, so it's something that I think I can grow into. Sooner or later, it's going to come."

Running back Tre Mason ran behind Robinson on Auburn's national championship runner-up team last year and has loads of confidence in his fellow rookie. The Tigers totalled 64 rushing touchdowns the last two seasons and the Rams anticipate Mason will be a change-of-pace option behind Zac Stacey.

"When he's lead blocking for me, we love it," Mason said. "I know he can play anywhere on that O-line. Really, you could line him up at quarterback."

Robinson could eventually move outside, given left tackle Jake Long is in the final year of his contract. Long is rehabbing from knee surgery and said Tuesday he expects to be ready for the opener.

Robinson can draw on the experience of teammate Rodger Saffold, also a left tackle in college and at the start of his NFL career, too.

"Yeah, he told me it was hard for him at the beginning, but something he got accustomed to," Robinson said. "It's something I'm really going to have to work on and really learn in and out. I'm sure they're not going to play anybody that's not ready."

Saffold started at three spots last year and will be the right guard, joking "at least I know where I'll be." The Rams re-signed him to a free-agent deal after he failed a physical in Oakland related to a shoulder injury, and he's comfortable playing guard for the foreseeable future.

"Yeah, can't fight it," Saffold said. "Just got to roll with the punches. The goal is the same, it's just one slot inside."

Besides the physical factor, Robinson is adjusting to a much deeper playbook with even more wrinkles inside than at tackle. Robinson said Auburn perfected a "select few" plays.

"It's a lot for him, but the good thing is he's listening to everybody," Saffold said. "We expect a lot out of him and he's coming along."

Long, the first overall pick in 2008 by the Dolphins, has been doing a lot of individual work this week plus "stuff inside that you don't see," coach Jeff Fisher said. The Rams anticipate he'll be a full participant by the middle of training camp.

"Every week we try to introduce something more," Long said. "I'm really excited and happy with how I'm progressing."

The 29-year-old Long said he's been rehabbing five or six hours a day for several weeks with the exception of a 10-day trip with his wife to Paris and Barcelona.

"I wanted to do it and didn't want to do it at the same time," Long said. "The trainers told me I had to get out of the room for a few days. They were long days and they still are, but I'm glad to do it."

Greg Robinson (Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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