Bijan Robinson could go higher than anyone expects

The Atlanta Falcons will love to run the football even more after drafting Bijan Robinson.

Although the Atlanta Falcons could go in a lot of different ways picking near the top of the 2023 NFL Draft, there is a growing belief that they will be the team that ends up taking explosive Texas Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson No. 8 overall.

The latest betting odds from FanDuel have Robinson at +250 to go to the Dirty Birds, the same as Georgia edge rusher Nolan Smith. Iowa pass-rusher Lukas Van Ness and Texas Tech front-seven phenom Tyree Wilson are at +600. Smith’s college teammate Jalen Carter comes in at +900, while Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez is at a distant +1400. There is a lot to unpack here…

Let’s discuss if the Falcons are the right team to be taking Robinson that early in this year’s draft.

NFL Draft rumors: Atlanta Falcons favored to take Bijan Robinson at No. 8 overall

Look. This is my team and I trust general manager Terry Fontenot to make the right call next Thursday night. Given that head coach Arthur Smith has quickly established a ball-control, ground-and-pound offensive identity for his team, Robinson would absolutely flourish in the Atlanta offensive attack. He is a running back and they have other draft needs, but this could be amazing.

Would it shock you to say the Falcons of all teams would have the best running back room in football after this draft pick? I mean, Tyler Allgeier was sensational in his rookie year out of BYU. Cordarrelle Patterson may be marginalized a bit with this pick, but he is ATL to his core. He has been an absolutely tremendous culture fit for this team. Us ATLiens are lucky to have him here.

The idea of taking Robinson was not initially what I would have hoped where the front office would be leaning, but I can safely say this pick would be well-received by seemingly everyone who supports this team. I came around on Drake London a year ago. This isn’t a no-brainer like Kyle Pitts coming out of Florida in 2021, but we all are thinking big things when it comes to Robinson.

I think with the Jeff Okudah trade with the Detroit Lions, Atlanta is not going to roll with Gonzalez or Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon to solve a cornerback issue at No. 8. The Falcons have stacked one good offseason acquisition after another on the defensive side of the ball. I mean, they signed Jessie Bates III at safety and got future Pro Football Hall of Famer Calais Campbell to come here.

Where this does get a little tricky is Atlanta sucks at rushing the passer. Outside of that one good Vic Beasley year where future hall of famer Dwight Freeney was giving him the answers to the test, clearly, John Abrahams don’t grow on trees. So yes, a pass-rusher at No. 8 makes the best sense in terms of need, as well as maybe stopping local college star Jalen Carter’s potential fall.

While I don’t think Atlanta absolutely has to draft Carter if he is there at No. 8, he is the most talented player in the entire draft. Adding Campbell to the defensive line room that already has underrated star Grady Jarrett part of it means Atlanta can handle the perceived baggage that comes with Carter. However, Nolan Smith is a future coach and one helluva a playmaker, too.

Ultimately, the Falcons are justified in taking either Robinson or Smith at No. 8. Technically, it may be a slight reach for both, definitely for Smith, so trading back is still very much in play for either one of them. It depends on what the Eagles do at No. 10. They are a great landing spot for Carter and Robinson, so keep an eye on that. All I know is Robinson will put butts in seats at The Benz.

As long as the Falcons don’t draft a quarterback at No. 8, I think we can say they made a good pick.

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