The Atlanta Falcons had been linked to generational running back prospect Bijan Robinson throughout the pre-draft process.
That’s why it was not a surprise that Atlanta used the eighth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft on the Arizona native.
The question here is whether Atlanta received value and need with a top-10 selection after winning just seven games a season ago.
For a team that has not been relevant in the NFC Playoff race over the past half-decade and is set to rely on young quarterback Desmond Ridder under center, there seemed to be other needs in Atlanta.
This isn’t to say that the selection of Robinson won’t end up being a home run down the road. As noted above, the kid is a transcendent talent. We’re talking about a two-time High School Football Player of the Year in Arizona and someone who dominated in Austin.
- Bijan Robinson stats (2021-22): 3,316 total yards, 6.6 average, 35 TD
Atlanta Falcons had NFL’s third-best rushing attack in 2022
This was the question leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft. How will teams value running backs in today’s NFL? Only four running backs have gone in the first round over the past four years The highest of that group was Josh Jacobs (24th overall in 2019) and Najee Harris (24th in 2021).
As for the Falcons, they averaged a resounding 159.9 rushing yards per game a season ago. A fifth-round pick last year, Tyler Allgeier starred as a rookie for Atlanta in 2022. The BYU product tallied 1,174 total yards and four touchdowns at a clip of 5.2 yards per touch. That included catching 16-of-17 passes.
Veteran Cordarrelle Patterson also remains rostered by the Atlanta Falcons. He’s tallied 1,983 total yards and 19 touchdowns over the past two seasons. What value did Atlanta receive in Bijan Robinson outside of his pure talent given what we’ve seen from these two running backs recently?
The team could have gone with one of the most-talented pure players in the draft, Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, at a need position. Given the trades we saw within the top-10, moving down from the eighth pick also made sense.
Again, we love Bijan Robinson as a football player. We’re just not sold on the value the Atlanta Falcons received with this selection.