news from around the "A"

Bijan Robinson Pick ‘Did Not Solve Any Problems’ for Falcons, NFL Exec Says

Subscribe to our newsletter

Texas running back Bijan Robinson poses after being chosen by the Atlanta Falcons with the eighth overall pick during the first round of the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 27, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

While most fans and analysts agree the Atlanta Falcons drafting Bijan Robinson to play in Arthur Smith’s run-heavy offense is fun, the big-picture perspective of a team with so many roster holes adding a running back in the first round is questionable.

One executive from another team told The Athletic’s Mike Sando they can see what the Falcons “are trying to do” with Robinson, but the pick “did not solve any problems for them.”

Robinson was arguably the best offensive player in the 2023 draft class regardless of position. B/R’s Derrik Klassen said the Texas running back can “step in right away and be able to carry the workload for a rushing offense, as well as contribute in the passing game.”

For a Falcons team that is going with Desmond Ridder at quarterback, having a safety outlet like Robinson in the passing game and what he’s capable of doing in the running game is good for the offense.

But there’s also the question of how much talent Smith really needs at running back to maximize the rushing attack.

The Falcons led the NFL in rushing attempts (559), ranked third in rushing yards per game (159.9) and fourth in yards per attempt (4.9) last season with rookie Tyler Allgeier and Cordarelle Patterson as their top two running backs.

Marcus Mariota was also a big contributor to the running game from the quarterback spot. Ridder can move around outside of the pocket, but his college tape shows a player who wants to play a more traditional style.

Losing the 438 yards on the ground that Mariota produced last season could change the dynamics of Smith’s approach, but history shows that it can be hard to get great value from drafting a running back in the first round.

Saquon Barkley was the last running back taken in the top 10 when the New York Giants selected him second overall in 2018.

No one would say he was a bust as a two-time Pro Bowler and Offensive Rookie of the Year winner, but the Giants are locked in a contract standoff with a 26-year-old because not a lot of teams are making significant investments in running backs on a second contract.

The Falcons were also a 7-10 team last season that ranked 15th in points per game and 23rd in points allowed per game. They haven’t had a player record at least 10 sacks in a season since Vic Beasley in 2016 (15.5).

Jeff Okudah is set to be the starting cornerback opposite A.J. Terrell. Someone like Christian Gonzalez, Lukas Van Ness, Jalen Carter or another wide receiver would have made more practical sense for the Falcons with the No. 8 overall pick.

Instead, the Falcons went the fun route by taking Robinson and ensuring he will almost certainly be one of the first players selected in fantasy dynasty drafts because of how much run he’s likely to get in this offense.

Read More

Comments are closed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More