The Atlanta Falcons made a somewhat-controversial pick when they selected running back Bijan Robinson No. 8 overall in April’s NFL Draft.
Running back is considered a de-valued position in today’s NFL. Using a top-10 pick on a running back was considered “indefensible” by one ESPN analyst.
However the Falcons had plans for Robinson to be a playmaker, not just a running back. ESPN’s legion of beat writers submitted first impressions of the first-round picks including Robinson. Don’t expect to only find him in the backfield.
Robinson has been exactly as Atlanta anticipated. The Falcons have shown they’ll use him as a running back and a receiver, all over the formation. Was there question from pundits about how the Falcons used this pick? Yes. When Arthur Smith was asked if the traits they saw in Robinson have translated to the NFL, he made his answer very clear: “We do not have buyer’s remorse if that’s what you’re asking.”Michael Rothstein, ESPN
An example? Last Tuesday, Robinson was the last player off the field, signing autographs and then getting extra work on the JUGS machine.
The Falcons poured money into their offensive line to be the backbone of this team. They have the second-most expensive unit in the NFL behind the Detroit Lions according to Spotrac.
However, the Falcons balance that cost with the cheapest backfield in the NFL including Tyler Allgeier, Desmond Ridder and Robinson, all on rookie contracts.
Bijan Robinson was drafted as a running back and will be expected to contribute right away for Atlanta. A team doesn’t use a top-10 pick on a running back to watch him develop.
Robinson will get chances early and often for the Falcons at running back and slot receiver. Smith has already proven he can get the best out of a player like Cordarrelle Patterson by moving him around.
Similarly, expect Robinson to be used in a variety of roles to take advantage of his playmaking ability.