Scott Piolis was the former VP of Player Personnel for the New England Patriots and the General Manager for the Kansas City Chiefs. He was a guest on Good Morning Football this week and was asked which rookie was in the best position to succeed.
He wasted little time in saying “I’m looking at Bijan Robinson.”
Pioli’s comments are a far cry from ESPN analytics analyst Seth Walder who referred to the Robinson pick as “indefensible”.
The reason I’m looking at him is because Arthur Smith knows the running game,” said Pioli on Good Morning Football. “Everywhere that Arthur Smith has been, he’s been part of a dominant running game.”
“Bijan is an incredible talent. Not only can he run the ball well, but he’s a good receiver.”
An easy comparison for Robinson is to look at Derrick Henry in Tennessee. Arthur Smith helped Henry reach great heights as offensive coordinator, but Pioli has a different comparison.
“I think back to Najee Harris’s rookie year when he led the NFL in touches. That’s what I think Bijan Robinson is going to end up doing this year. He’s going to get a ton of touches, and like Najee, he’s going to run for 1,200 yards or plus.”
“Because Bijan is such a good receiver, remember in Najee Harris’s rookie year, he had 74 catches.”
In two seasons with the Steelers, Harris has 2,234 yards rushing and 696 yards receiving with 20 touchdowns. Harris had 75% of the Steelers’ rushing attempts in 2021, but they only ran the ball 411 times.
The Atlanta Falcons ran the ball 559 times and should have more offensive plays in 2023. There is plenty of room for Robinson and last year’s leading-rusher Tyler Allgeier.
But Pioli expects Robinson to be the star of the show in Atlanta.
“So when I look at a rookie who’s going to be put in a situation and a circumstance and with a coach who’s really going to use him… I’m looking at Bijan.”