Atlanta Falcons fans have grown accustomed to seeing their team not rank very highly on NFL power rankings this offseason. But one of the team’s most hyped rookies in history, running back Bijan Robinson, didn’t receive much love from one former running back on Tuesday.
2011 All-Pro and NFL.com analyst Maurice Jones-Drew ranked all 32 RB1’s heading into the 2023 season. Robinson came in at No. 21 on Jones-Drew’s list.
“There’s a ton of hype around Atlanta’s rookie running back, and I get it. He’s a three-down talent who will take Arthur Smith’s offense to new heights,” wrote Jones-Drew. “But it’s possible Tyler Allgeier, who just eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards as a rookie, sees a healthy amount of carries. And gadget guy Cordarrelle Patterson could be in the mix for regular backfield opportunities, too.
“I might be completely wrong about this — and Bijan could have a top-10 finish on this list come January — but I’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
No one can fault Jones-Drew for being a little cautious with ranking the rookie running backs. Despite falling at No. 21 on his rankings, Robinson was still the top rookie RB1 on Jones-Drew’s list.
Last year, the three-time Pro Bowler’s top rookie RB1 was Breece Hall at No. 30.
But as Jones-Drew indicated, Robinson could very easily not only finish as a top 20 back in 2023 but as a top 10. That could be the case even if Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson are heavily involved for the Falcons. That’s because Robinson is a stellar pass-catcher and could make a major impact as a receiver.
In 2022 at Texas, Robinson posted 1,894 yards from scrimmage while averaging 6.1 yards per carry. He also scored 20 total touchdowns.
He’s the total package and has looked stellar during training camp and the preseason. While Jones-Drew may believe otherwise, the hype is justified.