Bijan Robinson goes into the 2023 NFL Draft as one of the best prospects available. Still, he might not go in the top 10-15 because running back is not a valued draft position. Despite the talent, will Robinson be a wasted pick because he is a running back, or he will be able to overcome that?
Bijan Robinson (6’0, 220 pounds) had an amazing three-year career as a Texas Longhorn. He goes into the 2023 NFL Draft as a player who was a Heisman candidate earlier in the season. Robinson enters this draft as the best running back on the board and will be a first-round pick (assuming he stays healthy throughout draft prep).
In his first year as a Longhorn, he wasn’t the starter, but he still had a strong season. He ran for 703 yards on 86 carries, averaging eight yards per carry. Mid-way through the season, he started to average more than 10 carries per contest, including three games where he eclipsed 100 yards. Bijan Robinson finished the season with a solid bowl game performance, rushing for 183 yards on 10 carries, and a touchdown on the ground.
Robinson started to take off in his second season, rushing for 1,127 yards on 195 attempts (5.8 ypc). Additionally, he had 11 rushing touchdowns as a sophomore for the Texas program. While he had a good season statically, the team struggled mightily, only winning four games.
Team success and his best college season would come in Robinson’s third year on campus, as he ran for 1,580 yards on 258 carries. That would come with 18 rushing touchdowns and an eight-win season, even with Texas QB, Quinn Ewers, out from week two through week six. While he didn’t finish as a Heisman finalist in 2022, Bijan Robinson played up to the expectations he carried going into this season.
Strength: Speed, Strength, Elusiveness
A major thing that I love about Bijan Robinson is his ability to break tackles. The 2023 NFL Draft prospect broke an astonishing 91 tackles as a junior. At 220 pounds, he is very hard to tackle. Another thing that Robinson is great at is that this kid is fast. According to NFL Draft Buzz, Robinson has a 4.49 40-yard dash. Combine that with his strength and it makes the guy very hard to bring down.
Also, Robinson is a stud at catching passes out of the backfield, which is key for every-down running backs these days. On the season, he hauled in 19 receptions for 314 yards. A team that takes Robinson will be able to depend on him as a safety net in the passing game. Honestly, Bijan Robinson is a complete running back who only needs to fix one thing in his game.
Weakness: Plays a Low-Value Position/Takes Too Much Time to Decide on a Running Lane
Bijan Robinson possesses very few weaknesses — if any. I would say his main weakness as an NFL Draft prospect is his position. This is something that can’t be changed. Robinson is a great running back, but still, he plays a low-value position relative to others in the class. In a league where you can find a running back virtually anywhere, and a position that is already so dependent on the offensive line, it simply isn’t smart to draft a running back with a top pick.
Bijan Robinson is one of the best talents in the 2023 NFL Draft. Even with that, it is fair to assume Robinson will slide due to the position he plays. Personally, I do not really see any weakness in his game. While researching, I found that a lot of scouts do not like that he waits in the backfield for too long. I do not think that this is a major issue and expect it to be solved in his first couple of years with good NFL coaching.
2023 NFL Draft Projection: Late Day 1 (Top 20-32)
It is really difficult for me to project where Bijan Robinson will go in the 2023 NFL Draft, but if I had to bet, I think it will be outside the top 15 selections. This running back is basically perfect, but he plays a low-value position, and with that in mind, he will probably end up coming off the board in the backend of the first round.
It is even harder to predict which team will draft him, because he should be viewed as a luxury pick. Most franchises will have to address other needs before selecting a running back on day one. I don’t see him getting taken before Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Jalen Carter, Will Anderson Jr., Bryan Bresee, Myles Murphy, Michael Mayer, Peter Skoronski, Paris Johnson Jr., or Kelee Ringo.
Basically, he is a top-tier prospect, but will not be drafted in the top 15 because of his position. Furthermore, he probably isn’t getting picked before Anthony Richardson or Will Levis. Despite having more talent than Cam Smith, Joey Porter Jr., Jordan Addison, and Quentin Johnson, these players have a high chance of going earlier than Bijan Robinson as well.
While not trying to copy other people’s work, I have read a lot of mock drafts where he ends up with the Bills or the Eagles (with their actual first-round pick, not the Saints’ pick) and I really like those fits. Getting pushed down the draft board has one major upside: landing in a great situation as a rookie. I have also seen some people take him with the Ravens’ pick, but it is looking like they will need to take a corner or wide receiver with their first-round pick.
In conclusion, Bijan Robinson is a top prospect but will likely fall in the 2023 NFL Draft because of his position.