This continues my series where I cover potential first-round draft targets for the Falcons, moving on to one of the most polarizing figures amongst the fan base, Texas running back Bijan Robinson. If you missed any of the previous editions to this series, follow the links below.
The reason Bijan Robinson is such a polarizing figure among Falcons fans is not because of his talent. He’s one of the few running backs that come out every couple of years that is deserving of a top-ten draft selection. However, if there’s one position on the Atlanta roster that doesn’t need significant upgrades, it’s running back.
Running backs are a dime a dozen most of the time. Highly productive ones can be found throughout the draft, like Tyler Allgeier, who the Falcons took in the fifth-round last season. He proved at the end of his rookie campaign that he’s ready to be the bell cow in the backfield, and there’s nothing to suggest he can’t be a top-ten player at the position in year two.
Allgeier is a fantastic start to any running back room, but you need at least two players at the position in today’s game, and the Falcons have a terrific second option in Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson has proven to wear down over a full season as a lead back, which is what you expect from a 31-year-old. However, as a second option, there aren’t many better ones.
The Falcons don’t need another lead back, but as they’ve said time and time again, that’s not how they approach the draft. They are looking for the best player, regardless of position, and Robinson could be that guy with the eighth pick.
Robinson is much different than Allgeier and Patterson. Those two are featured in the Falcons offense; Bijan Robinson would be the offense in Atlanta — think Derrick Henry in Tennesee.
It didn’t take long for Robinson to make his mark at Texas. He rushed for over 700 yards as a freshman, and his production increased every season, culminating in a 1,500 yard campaign with 18 TDs on the ground. However, he’s equally as dangerous as a receiver out of the backfield.
Robinson is a can’t-miss prospect at the position. He has fantastic size at 6 feet, 220 pounds that he pairs with 4.4 speed. He’s rarely tackled by one guy and has an elite ability to turn one-yard stops into ten-yard gains, much like the Falcons current running back Tyler Allgeier.
However, where Robinson differentiates himself from Allgeier is with his explosiveness. He can burst through the hole and take it 80 yards for a touchdown. Once he makes the last guy miss, there is no catching him.
Robinson is in the same class as Saquon Barkley coming out of college. There’s nothing he can’t do. Robinson has excellent vision, is powerful, can make guys miss, and comes with big-play ability.
Do I think the Falcons will select him? Probably not, because while I believe best player available is their philosophy, the massive holes on this team can’t be ignored. Needs and positional value are always somewhat taken into consideration, even if the best player available is the top priority. However, if they stay true to their word regarding BPA, there’s no denying Robinson will be in the conversation. The prospects that are projected to be available when the Falcons are on the clock make this selection a legitimate possibility.
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