ST. LOUIS (KSDK Sports) -- In the months leading up to the NFL draft, it seemed like no one talked about him.
While the rest of the NFL world was busy talking about Jadeveon Clowney and Johnny Football, Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson quietly established himself as the top offensive lineman available from this year's crop of prospects. Thursday night he became the cornerstone of the St. Louis Rams offensive front.
The Rams selected Robinson with the second-overall pick in the NFL draft's first round at Radio City Music Hall.
DRAFT: First-round analysis
Almost an hour after the Rams selected him, Robinson recalled the phone call that changed his life.
"Coach (Jeff) Fisher was on the phone," Robinson said with a smile. "He told me they were taking me and we just had to wait for the TV. But that feeling, oh, man, it was amazing. There's nothing like that feeling."
After Robinson, Texas A&M's Jake Matthews (sixth to the Atlanta Falcons), and Michigan's Taylor Lewan (11th to the Tennessee Titans) were the next offensive linemen off the board.
At 6-feet-5 and 332 pounds, Robinson excelled in run blocking at Auburn, but struggled at times in his pass protection. The Rams have the option of starting Robinson at left guard early in his career, but the probable plan is to install Robinson as the franchise's left tackle.
"Whatever they ask of me, I'm willing to come in and help as much as I can," Robinson said on a conference call with local media.
The Rams ranked 19th in rushing yards in the NFL last season with 109.5 per game. The addition of Robinson should help that figure improve next season. After the NFL Scouting Combine the Rams brought Robinson for a visit to the team's facility in Earth City, Mo. Robinson called the visit "unique," and noticed something peculiar about the way the Rams front office talked to him.
"They were speaking in future tense, like: 'When you get here,' " Robinson said. "I kind of knew it was going to happen, but I didn't want to believe it would happen until it did."
Robinson started every game for Auburn in 2013 and was instrumental in the Tigers' run to the BCS National Championship Game. With Robinson as the program's anchor, Auburn led the NCAA in rushing, generating 328.3 yards per game. His performance in 2013 earned him second team All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America.
Many pre-draft projections had the Rams selecting Robinson with the second pick, but historically, it was unlikely. In the 18 years Fisher has had a first-round draft pick, he had never used one to select an offensive lineman.
The Rams also don't have a history of selecting offensive linemen in the first round; Robinson becomes the third in franchise history, joining Jason Smith and Orlando Pace. Because of their similarities in size and skill set, the comparisons between Robinson and Pace already have begun.
"I heard a lot of things that they compared me to him," Robinson said. "He's a great player. Just being compared to a player like that – it feels good."
It won't be easy for Robinson. He was drafted into one of the toughest divisions for NFL offenses, facing the San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals and Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks twice.
The pick St. Louis used to draft Robinson was acquired in the 2012 trade with Washington, when the Redskins drafted quarterback Robert Griffin III. As a result from that deal, the Rams have added Michael Brockers, Janoris Jenkins, Isaiah Pead, Rokevious Watson, Alec Ogletree, Stedman Bailey, Zac Stacey, and now Robinson.