Falcons: Arthur Smith compares Bijan Robinson to Cordarrelle Patterson

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The Falcons made Bijan Robinson the highest-drafted running back since the Giants selected Saquon Barkley 2nd overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, and it was met with harsh criticism.

The selection is widely regarded as a luxury pick for a club that can’t afford it. The position is always going to be undervalued in today’s NFL, but it shouldn’t be. Robinson’s skill set dictates a much bigger role in the offense, and Arthur Smtih has seen that versatility before.

On a podcast with Chris Long, Smith compared Robinson to his new teammate Cordarrelle Patterson, who posted nearly 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns from scrimmage in 2021 as a weapon in the passing and rushing attack. The head coach and offensive play caller noted Robinonson’s ability to line up as a slot receiver, something we saw from the veteran Patterson in his first season in Atlanta.

Bijan Robinson is a special runner, displaying a unique combination of balance, burst, elusiveness, vision, and power. He brings an explosive play style to the Falcons’ offense, responsible for 45 plays of 20+ yard gains in his career at Texas, including eight carries of 50+ yards.

And to Arthur Smith’s point, 14 of those 45 explosive plays were through the air. Robinson can run the entire running back route tree but also effectively work out of the slot. He’s better described as an offensive weapon than a running back.

The Falcons want positionless football players. Kyle Pitts is a unicorn of a tight end, and Bijan Robinson is a unicorn of a running back.

Photographer: Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire

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