Falcons: NFL Insider who correctly predicted Atlanta’s last two first-round picks makes his prediction

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The NFL Draft is this weekend, and the media is buzzing with rumors, many pertaining to the Falcons and their 8th overall pick. We will discuss each individually, as Chase already commented on Albert Breer’s report that Atlanta is open to trading down. I want to talk about Peter King’s final mock draft, which has Terry Fontenot selecting an offensive weapon in the top 10 for a third year in a row — Bijan Robinson.

“This is too high to pick Robinson, of course. I do know the Falcons really want to trade down, and I do know they like Robinson (who doesn’t?) because he’s the best running back in the draft and has the rare ability to segue into receiver mode with great hands and strong slot capabilities. Of course they’d want to trade down, because taking Robinson at eight would be leaving draft capital on the table. But if they take Robinson, here or lower, imagine the investment in young offensive weapons if this comes true. Round one, fourth pick, 2021: tight end Kyle Pitts … Round one, eighth pick, 2022: wide receiver Drake London … Round one, eighth pick, 2023: running back/slot receiver Bijan Robinson. Add 1,000-yard rookie running back Tyler Allgeier from the fifth round in 2022, tight end Jonnu Smith in free agency this year, and maybe one more profitable year from runner/receiver/returner Cordarrelle Patterson and tell me—would there be a team in the NFC South that’s better in in-prime offensive weaponry than Atlanta?”

Now, usually, I wouldn’t put too much stock in a mock draft. After all, every league insider has a source feeding them potentially credible information, but Peter King is different.

He’s one of the most consistently plugged-in media members and rarely puts out faulty reports. I imagine he is fed an absurd amount of rumors, and King never puts something out for no reason.

For the Falcons, he’s been right in each of the new regime’s drafts. King picked Kyle Pitts for the Falcons in his 2021 mock draft and then again had Atlanta selecting Drake London in his 2022 edition. Most recently, Bijan Robinson is the prediction; it makes sense for several reasons.

Robinson is a generational prospect, coming off a campaign in which he posted 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground while adding 314 yards and two scores through the air. He is in the same conversation as Saquon Barkley and Todd Gurley coming out of college. There are probably only a handful of blue chip prospects in the 2023 draft class, and Robinson is undoubtedly one of them.

The new regime has preached a best player available draft philosophy, and history shows that. A running back shouldn’t surprise anyone, despite the positional value argument.

The most common opposing narrative for not drafting Robinson is the presence of Tyler Allgeier, who broke the franchise rookie rushing record with 1,035 yards in 2022. But a counterpoint would be Terry Fontenot’s consistent comments about upgrading any position, regardless of the state.

To that point, consider what a generational talent like Bijan Robinson could do in Arthur Smith’s offense, which ran the ball over 550 times in 2022. Tyler Allgeier is a gem of a find, but the talent discrepancy between him and Robinson is apparent.

Smith’s offense values running backs much more than some other offenses. Just think back to Derrick Henry‘s time in Smith’s scheme with the Titans; he challenged for MVPs. The offense’s engine wasn’t Ryan Tannehill, AJ Brown, or anyone else; it was Henry. The Falcons could very well follow a similar path with Bijan Robinson, Desmond RidderDrake London, and Kyle Pitts.

Photographer: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire


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