Arthur Smith on what makes Bijan Robinson special

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The Falcons have been ridiculed by most of the national media for taking a running back with the 8th overall pick. Given the positional value and Atlanta’s lackluster sack totals over the last couple of years, it makes sense.

But we have to consider the entire scope of the situation; context matters. The Falcons addressed their defensive issues in free agency. Everyone will point to the lack of pressure on opposing quarterbacks as to why a running back is a luxury. Well, Atlanta bolstered the defensive front in a big way.

Grady Jarrett, Ta’Quon Graham, and Arnold Ebetikie were the most notable members of the front seven before free agency; now, that group looks much different. The Falcons went out and added Kaden Elliss, David Onyemata, and Calais Campbell, but it’s the breadth of the rotation that is most notable — Lorenzo Carter, Bud Dupree, Eddie Goldman, Zach Harrison and DeAngelo Malone round out the defensive front.

There’s also more than one way to skin a cat. Coverage is just as important to a pass rush as the pressure. The backend was dramatically improved with the additions of Jessie Bates III, Mike Hughes, Jeff Okudah, and Clark Phillips III. The defense isn’t going to turn into the ’85 Bears, but it will be night and day compared to the last couple of years.

That’s the indirect defense of the Bijan Robinson selection. We didn’t even talk about what the actual player brings to the table, which Arthur Smith so eloquently explained:

Arthur Smith knows what an elite talent looks like, but if you’re unaware, here is a 7 MINUTE highlight reel of what Robinson did in Austin:

His contact balance, burst, vision, explosiveness, toughness, etc., just pops. It’s apparent what the Falcons see in Robinson. Not only is he unique as a runner, but he’s equally effective as a pass catcher. He’s in the same conversation as Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara in that capacity.

Robinson will enable Arthur Smith to dial up formations and play designs that will make a defensive coordinator’s head spin. The Falcons will utilize Robinson in a variety of roles — in the backfield, split out wide, in the slot, etc. There are two types of people: Bijan Robinson’s fans and those who haven’t seen him play yet.

Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire

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