With the 2023 NFL Draft just a few weeks away, most of the draft conversation has centered around when and where the quarterbacks are drafted. Some talk has been made of the risers and fallers of the draft, but perhaps the most exciting prospect in this year’s draft in former Texas running back Bijan Robinson.
The Top 10
If this draft was held back in 2013 and not 2023, Robinson would easily be a top-10 selection. Back in the 2015 draft, Todd Gurley went 10th overall and running backs have gone in the top 10 in 2016 (Zeke), 2017 (C-Mac) and 2018 (Saquon).
However, no back has touched the top-10 since with all four of the mentioned top-10 running backs struggling with injuries throughout their NFL careers.
When looking at the teams drafting in the top-10, it feels like the Panthers, Houston and at least one other team will take a quarterback. The Colts seem like a logical QB team but a team could look to jump them by trading up to 3. Meanwhile, the Colts and the Seahawks, already have featured backs.
Defensive players like Will Anderson, Jalen Carter and Devon Witherspoon are also threats to potentially go in the first round. Of the top-10 teams, the Lions (6), Falcons (8), Bears (9) and Eagles (10) could all potentially target a running back.
Of the fours teams, Detroit already has spent a considerable amount on the running back position. This off-season they replaced Jamaal Williams with David Montgomery and still have D"Andre Swift on their roster.
While it still feels unlikely, neither player currently on the depth chart is anywhere near as talented as the former Texas standout. With another first round pick later in the draft, the Lions could opt to take Robinson early while still adding another player later in the first.
Last year, the Falcons leaned heavily on rookie running back Tyler Allgeier to a 1,000 yard rushing season and veteran Cordarrelle Patterson, who has been a multi-position weapon in Atlanta.
While Atlanta did have quite a deal of production last season, Patterson does turn 32 this year and head coach Arthur Smith did come from a Derrick Henry led offensive system. A running back committee led by Robinson and supplemented by Allgeier could be one of the best in the sport.
After making the decision to move down from number 1 to number 9, the Bears seem fully committed to Justin Fields at the quarterback position. The team added Chase Claypool at the deadline (losing what ended up becoming pick 32) and D.J. Moore in the trade with Carolina.
Adding Robinson would not only replace David Montgomery but give Fields a powerful running mate to help elevate him to the next level. With that said, Chicago has had one of the worst lines in football in recent years and the team might be more likely to target one of the talented tackles on the board.
THe final pick of the first round belongs to the Super Bowl runner up Philadelphia Eagles, thanks to a trade with the New Orleans Saints. The team did lose 2022 starter Miles Sanders to free agency while adding Rashaad Penny to a running back room of Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott and Trey Sermon.
Robinson would easily slot in as the best running back on the roster and could wreck havoc behind the Eagles offensive line. Furthermore, as a receiving option, the aerial attack of A.J. Brown, Devonta Smith, Dallas Goedert and Bijan would strike fear in the eyes of the NFC.
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