The Falcons chose to go with Bijan Robinson, despite Jalen Carter being on the board. Atlanta did so for several reasons.
Even though Carter was arguably the most talented player on the board, Robinson is no consolation prize. Additionally, it has less to do with what each brings on the field and more to do with the kind of people they are off the field.
The Falcons won’t have to worry about Bijan Robinson showing up to work every day with the same intensity as he would on Sundays; the same cannot be said for Jalen Cater. This isn’t supposed to disparage Carter to build up Robinson, so don’t take it as that. In fact, I believe Carter will go on to have a very successful career in Philadelphia, but that’s not to say he would’ve reached the same level in Atlanta.
The Eagles have a much more established culture than the Falcons as well as a better supporting cast to guide Carter, given the veterans and former Georgia teammates surrounding him.
The Falcons also need a sure-fire impact player. Jalen Carter’s red flags are cause for concern that he could potentially not live up to his potential; the same cannot be said for Bijan Robinson. In my opinion, he is the most guaranteed future NFL star of this draft class; Matt Miller and Jordan Reid of ESPN believe the same:
Miller: Bijan Robinson, RB, Atlanta Falcons (No. 8). It might be cheating to pick the most NFL-ready player in the class at one position where we see a lot of rookie production, but Robinson is uniquely suited to hit the ground running in Arthur Smith’s offense thanks to his power, vision and receiving ability. He showcased those traits regularly while rushing for 1,580 yards last season at Texas
Reid: Bijan Robinson, RB, Atlanta Falcons (No. 8). I agree, Matt. It’s hard to find a better answer than Robinson, who is a perfect fit with the Falcons. This offense will use him both as a runner and in the passing game, and his impact will be felt right away. We saw what Tyler Allgeier was able to do in that system last year, and Robinson is significantly more talented than the 2022 fifth-round pick.
Bryce Young has a chance to be the star of this class, but quarterbacks are incredibly hard to project. Even though I think he’s a can’t-miss prospect, the Panthers organization could potentially hold him back if the front office or coaching staff missteps. In comparison, the Falcons are a perfect scheme fit for Bijan Robinson.
The Falcons picked the safest prospect, who just so happens to have one of the highest ceilings. Moreover, Robinson’s impact will be instantaneous. He’s already the favorite to take home the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. I have said it before, and I know it’s a hot take, but I think Bijan Robinson will be the biggest star in Atlanta by the time he’s done.
Photographer: Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire
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