According to DraftKings, the Atlanta Falcons (+200), are the odds on favorite to draft Texas running back Bijan Robinson. Here are three reasons to explain why that is the case, and why the Falcons would be wise to add the blue-chip prospect to their backfield.
Why the Falcons should draft Bijan Robinson
1. The Falcons best days always feature a dynamic rushing attack
One thing we can conclude after a look into the best rushing seasons in Atlanta Falcons history is that a dynamic rushing attack frequently correlates to successful, winning seasons. From Jamal Anderson to Warrick Dunn and Michael Turner to Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, better backs usually mean better teams for the Atlanta Falcons. Tyler Allgeier continued the trend this past season, and adding Bijan on Thursday will continue to propel it forward.
Since 1998, when the Atlanta Falcons have an 800+ yard rusher, their winning percentage is 26% better than seasons that do not feature an 800 yard rusher. Furthermore, since 1998, the Falcons have never won the division without at least one 800 yard rusher.
|ATL RB Rushing Seasons since 1998 of 800 yds or more | Data sorted by total season rushing yardage|
With a great rookie campaign out of fifth-round selection Tyler Allgeier in 2022, many Falcons fans are comfortable enough with him to prioritize other positions in the draft—especially with early picks. As a huge fan of Tyler Allgeier, I don’t hate this sentiment, and on most occasions would agree with it entirely. But Bijan Robinson is a top-four player in this draft class and would certainly cement a top-tier rushing attack in Atlanta right alongside Allgeier. The road to at least one 800 yard rusher is a lot more smooth with Bijan in the mix.
2. The NFL is a multi-RB league
With positional value being the lowest for running backs among featured positions in the NFL, many teams have seen a gravitation towards a running-back-by-committee approach. On top of ensuring fresh carries for your best runners, the committee approach also serves as a counter to the injury concerns around the running back position.
With three solid running backs in tandem for the Falcons—Cordarrelle Patterson, Tyler Allgeier, and hopefully Bijan Robinson—diversified roles will organically develop, and load management will take care of itself.
Adding Bijan to Atlanta’s backfield also offers some role clarity for a shared and efficient backfield. Bijan would clearly become the feature back, while an aging—fine wine—Cordarrelle Patterson would remain the passing-down back. Allgeier would emerge as one of the league’s premier change-of-pace backs, refusing breaks to opposing run-stuffers after their attempts at tackling the aforementioned two.
3. What Bijan Robinson could do for Desmond Ridder
The world of roster construction in today’s NFL is an arms race for a franchise quarterback. It’s impossible to compete without a quarterback in a quarterback’s league. Beyond this reality, if you don’t have “your guy,” paying for mere competency at the position can get expensive.
Luckily for the Falcons, second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder showed enough promise for at least competent-level play in his rookie year. He took over for Marcus Mariota, a veteran quarterback paid more than $9M in the name of said “competency.” Although Ridder, a third-round selection, isn’t a generational talent, he offers a safe floor for at least three more years in Atlanta’s quarterback room.
A blue-chip talent like Bijan Robinson adds to a supporting cast that already features two other first-round, dominant athletes in Kyle Pitts and Drake London. This doesn’t make Ridder a generational talent overnight, but it gives him some close-to-generational talent to lean on in Arthur Smith’s offense.
Bijan also offers versatility as a receiver. At 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds, with 4.46 speed, he accumulated 800 receiving yards on 60 receptions across 77 targets in his three years at UT. Positional value becomes blurred when we discuss the “offensive weapon” tier of NFL athletes. Deebo Samuel, Alvin Kamara, and Christian McCaffery are just a few of the athletic and role-based comparisons one could make for Bijan. Desmond Ridder and the Atlanta Falcons will become more offensively geared, and more regularly feared with offensive weapon Bijan Robinson added to the mix.
If I’m General Manger Terry Fontenot, I’m sending the card in with Bijan’s name on it at No. 8 overall on Thursday Night.