The Atlanta Falcons ended the suspense on Thursday night when they selected running back Bijan Robinson from the University of Texas.
Robinson was one of the more polarizing players in this draft because of the perceived positional value of running back. From a financial and longevity standpoint it’s not a team building pick, but it is a pick that could pay immediate dividends.
Considered arguably the best overall prospect in the draft, Robinson fits with the Falcons like a round peg in a round hole.
NFL.com’s Chad Reuter agrees and gave the Falcons an ‘A-‘ for their selection of Robinson.
Adding Robinson to the Falcons’ offensive arsenal made a ton of sense, even with Tyler Allgeier coming off a nice rookie season. Robinson is a multi-faceted playmaker who will join Atlanta’s last two first-rounders, tight end Kyle Pitts (No. 4 overall in 2021) and receiver Drake London (No. 8 overall in 2022), to make life easier for second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder. Head coach Arthur Smith’s offense has room for two good young backs. It does have to be mentioned that taking a running back this early can be a risk, because of attrition at the position.Chad Reuter, NFL.com
The Falcons may have wanted to move back in the draft to acquire extra picks while taking Robinson, but the Detroit Lions were lurking at No. 12. They were willing to take the consensus No. 2 running back in the class, Jahmyr Gibbs, with their pick. It’s likely Robinson wouldn’t have gotten past Detroit.
The Falcons turn to Day 2 of the NFL Draft on Friday night with several excellent prospects available with the 13th pick, No. 44 overall in the second and No. 75 overall in the third.
Left guard is still a concern for this team, and Florida’s O’Cyrus Torrence and TCU’s Steve Avila are still available. Wide receiver Jonathan Mingo would be a good fit in an Arthur Smith offense, and the draft is loaded at tight end, cornerback, and edge rushers on Day 2.
Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot refused to use the term “rebuild” the last two seasons. With the selection of Robinson they may be ready to proclaim the team “rebuilt”.
Robinson is a win-now type of pick, and the Falcons should set their goals for the playoffs in 2023.