INDIANAPOLIS — As one of seven children born to a family in Lafourche Parish, Greg Robinson knows a thing or two about trying to get by on a modest income.
When the Auburn offensive tackle was trying to decide if he should leave college early, he thought about his mother, Rhonda, and all she did for him and his six siblings.
When Robinson was projected as the possible second pick in May’s NFL draft, the decision became easy.
“I talked a lot with my family,” Robinson told reporters at the NFL combine Friday. “It’s basically the financial situation back home; I didn’t come from much. It’s something I considered, and I talked a lot with them. And I just told my mom I was going to go back and get my degree.
“I really have only two younger siblings, and it would be a blessing if I could help my mom put them through college. That would just be something in my heart that I would love to do. As far as my older brothers and sisters, I’m going to help them as much as I can because they have kids.”
This isn’t some charity case for Robinson; it’s simply a way of saying thank you to the loved ones who helped him get to where he is.
“I learned a lot from them, but I don’t feel that’s my responsibility,” the Thibodaux High grad said. “But I’m going to help my family as much as I can. I won’t let anyone take advantage of me just because I’ll be able to. But it’s something where I’ll think about them and try to help them out.”
Robinson is considered by many to be the best offensive tackle in the 2014 draft class, along with Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews, Michigan’s Taylor Lewan, Notre Dame’s Zack Martin and Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio.
“I don’t know how everybody else is going to perform,” Robinson said. “But I’m trying to perform the best.’’
After going through meetings with NFL teams Thursday, he came back to Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday morning and pounded out 32 bench press reps of 225 pounds. He then took the field Saturday for drills and impressed again with a 4.92 time in the 40-yard dash.
“During the offseason, I put in a lot of work,” he said. “After the BCS championship game, I took like two days off just to let my body recover before I hit the weight room hard.”
NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said Robinson has the biggest upside of the top tackles. If he has a weakness in his game, it’s pass protection.
“I feel I’m decent enough and I will prove myself if there’s anybody doubting that I can’t pass block,” Robinson said. “I’m not at full potential right now. I still have a lot to go.”
A self-described gritty player who plays with bad intentions, Robinson is anxious to prove himself on Sundays.
“I’m pretty sure anybody at Auburn could vouch for me as far as my work ethic at the university,” he said. “It’s just something I kept to myself, and it was just a fire under me and I wanted to succeed. And (the NFL) was my ultimate goal.”