There has been plenty of talk surrounding the quarterback and defensive line positions in the 2023 NFL Draft, but the top overall prospect may reside at another position. Running back Bijan Robinson out of the University of Texas is considered by many scouts and draft experts to be the best player in the entire draft. Robinson has been compared to New York Giants (and former Penn State) running back Saquon Barkley, and is slotted as a Day One draft pick.
During his three years at Texas, Robinson improved his numbers each season. He rushed for 703 yards and four touchdowns in his freshman year, 1,127 yards and 11 touchdowns in his sophomore year, and 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns in his junior and final college year. And to add to his resume?, Robinson hauled in 60 passes for 805 yards and eight touchdowns.
But despite being one of the best players — if not the best player — in the entire draft, Robinson's projected draft slot could be anywhere between pick No. 3 and pick No. 32. Several teams such as the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans should and will most likely be drafting a quarterback; and teams including the Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears are looking to build on either their offensive or defensive lines. And, lastly, you have teams such as the Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets that already have their star running backs.
So, where are some possible landing spots for the All-American running back?
Philadelphia Eagles - 10th Overall Pick
The Philadelphia Eagles are fresh off an NFC championship run and have spent most of the offseason managing the salary cap and retaining the players they could from that run, although one player they had to let walk was running back Miles Sanders. The Eagles did sign Rashaad Penny to add to their backfield, which consists of Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott. But bringing in a running back such as Robinson to an offense with QB Jalen Hurts could work wonders.
New England Patriots - 14th Overall Pick
The New England Patriots have had a good offseason thus far with the signings of wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster and tight end Mike Gesicki. A move out of left field that could shock many but improve their offense is drafting Robinson near the midway point of the first round. Reports have come out that the Patriots have been shopping quarterback Mac Jones this offseason; but if he is to remain under center for the Patriots in 2023, it is safe to say Robinson would be another great addition to his arsenal.
Los Angeles Chargers - 21st Overall Pick
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler has been vocal about his contract and reportedly has requested a trade from the team — and what better replacement for Ekeler than Robinson? Robinson would allow the team to lean more on the run and open up its pass game, which is filled with multiple weapons such as quarterback Justin Herbert and wide receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. The Chargers could also potentially trade up for Robinson, depending on the situation.
Dallas Cowboys- 26th Overall Pick
Running back Ezekiel Elliott was released by the Dallas Cowboys this offseason, leaving a potential hole in the Cowboys' backfield. Running back Tony Pollard emerged as RB1 during the 2022 season, and it appears he will hold on to that position. However, I would not be surprised if owner Jerry Jones wants to replace his old workhorse with a new and cheaper one. And with Pollard potentially due a big contract after the 2023 season, this pick makes a whole lot of sense.
Buffalo Bills - 27th Overall Pick
The Buffalo Bills have been one of the best teams in the NFL over the last three seasons despite not making a Super Bowl appearance during that time. But one thing they have been missing is a solid and consistent run game. And although they did use a second-round pick to get running back James Cook in 2022, drafting Robinson would give that offense the impact it needs in the run game, especially by taking away hits on quarterback Josh Allen on heavy-package situations.
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