Atlanta Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot not only loves taking skilled players in the first round but in the top 10. Fontenot did that again, for the third year in a row, on Thursday.
At No. 8 in the 2023 NFL draft, the Falcons selected Texas running back Bijan Robinson.
“He’s the total package,” ESPN’s Louis Riddick said on the network’s draft coverage. “He’s got instincts, strength, jump-cut ability, yards after contact, home-run speed, catch the ball out of the backfield.
“You name it, he’s got it.”
Robinson was an incredible talent at Texas, as he racked up 3,410 rushing yards and 4,215 yards from scrimmage in three college seasons.
As a senior in 2022, Robinson posted 6.1 yards per carry. He rushed for 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also had 19 catches for 314 yards and an additional two scores.
The draft experts from ESPN, The Athletic and Pro Football Focus ranked Robinson the clear-cut best running back available in the 2023 class. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compared the Texas running back to Josh Jacobs.
“Full-menu back blending a smorgasbord of position-specific traits that allow him to affect games,” Zierlein wrote. “He has a chance to become one of the more productive runners in the league very quickly.”
With Robinson, the Falcons are getting an elite offensive weapon who can help inexperienced quarterback Desmond Ridder immediately. However, some will question the pick because it’s the third year in a row the Falcons have drafted a skilled position player in the top 10.
In 2021, the Falcons picked tight end Kyle Pitts at No. 4 overall. Last year, they selected wide receiver Drake London.
Robinson could become a Pro Bowl-level player right away as Pitts and London did. But he won’t do anything to help the Falcons defense which had just 39 sacks in the past two years combined.