There is no doubt that the NFL’s relationship to running backs has changed drastically over the last decade. Teams are quietly devaluing the position as they allocate funds to other positions in an effort to win Super Bowls. The Chiefs, Rams, Patriots, Buccaneers and many other Super Bowl champions didn’t invest big money into a running back and their success has shown the way for many teams.
A running back on a rookie deal can be cost effective, but should he be drafted over a more sought-after position that could give more value on his rookie contract? This is the question that needs to be answered before drafting a stud running back like Bijan Robinson.
Should Bijan Robinson be a first-round pick?
Robinson is in a class all his own in the 2023 NFL Draft. He is the most complete running back in the draft and most draft analysts put him in their overall Top 10 if not higher. His size, speed, vision, hands, everything is what you want to see out of a prospect. If there are any head coaches out there that believe a true every-down back with his ability can improve their team significantly, they will do their due diligence.
There really isn’t a single team that wouldn’t want to add Robinson on a rookie contract for the next three seasons, but there are some that need his services more than others. The odds for which team will draft Robinson have the Falcons, Texans, Cowboys, Eagles, Chargers, Lions, Commanders, and Bengals as the eight best odds to pick the Texas product.
I’ve seen multiple mocks that have the Eagles grabbing Robinson at No. 10. It would be a lot of fun to see him behind that line with a running QB taking away pressure. It makes sense, but I doubt the Eagles give up that kind of draft capital on a running back.
The Detroit Lions are a team I could see making a run at him at pick 18. Jared Goff is serviceable, but the team will need to be strong on the ground to compete. But, they need defensive help and could wait on a RB after trading for David Montgomery and keeping DeAndre Swift around.
The Falcons are the favorites to grab him and they do look like a team willing to make a splash pick to bring in fans as they rebuild.
Robinson has to go somewhere, right? He’s the best running back in the draft and would become an automatic three-down starter in his rookie season barring injuries. But will it be a good decision to take him in the first round?
I want to say yes, because I enjoy watching great running backs play football, but if you are trying to build a long lasting championship team, I don’t think it’s a good idea. But, if the question is “will Robinson go in the first?,” the answer is a resounding yes.