The Falcons have received a ton of flack for drafting a running back 8th overall, but as I’ve said on several occasions, context matters in the case of Bijan Robinson.
Atlanta went out and spent considerable capital on the defensive side of the ball, use a best player available draft strategy, and see Robinson as an offensive weapon, not just a running back.
Still, there are concerns, particularly surrounding Robinson’s longevity. Running backs take a beating; the position possesses by far the shortest life span in the NFL today and is a big reason why most franchises don’t take them in the first round.
First-rounders are supposed to be reserved for franchise pillars, 10-year guys that will undoubtedly earn a second contract with the club. Well, that might not be the Falcons’ current thinking, and it’s flawed, concerning, and shortsighted.
The logic goes like this: Teams typically draft first-rounders with the second contract in mind. Is the player in question a long-term solution at the position? But because longevity is a factor in the devaluing of running backs (along with the surplus of good backs on Day 2 or 3 of the draft), taking the second contract off the table and embracing the possibilities with an elite back can be freeing.
“What you’ll see from teams like [Atlanta and Detroit] is, take an RB in the first round, then turn around and take another one in 3-4 years and don’t worry about the silly stuff,” an NFL personnel director said.
The Falcons could find themselves in between a rock and a hard place down the road. On the one hand, extending Bijan Robinson could come with significant risk.
There are countless examples of teams getting burnt on running back’s second contracts — Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, Dalvin Cook, etc. Despite Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffrey still producing at an elite level, they’ve also missed significant time.
The position just breeds injuries; it’s a reality the Falcons will soon have to face. Obviously, this is a conversation the club will have years down the road, but to go into a draft without even considering the possibility of a second contract for a top 10 pick is naive.
“Don’t worry about the silly stuff” makes it seem like drafting at 8th overall is trivial when it is anything but. I’m going to give the Falcons the benefit of the doubt in that they did consider the possibility of a second contract with Bijan Robinson, but this isn’t an encouraging sign from a regime that has had more than a few missteps already.
Photographer: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire
You must log in to post a comment.