Have you heard?
The Philadelphia Eagles have not selected a first-round running back since they took Keith Byars in the 1986 NFL Draft. I’m probably the first one to ever point that out.
But is this the year the streak finally comes to an end?!?! I mean, look, the Eagles are hosting Bijan Robinson on a pre-draft visit! There must be a chance!
This post from Texas RB Bijan Robinson last night was indeed what it looked like. He’s paying a pre-draft visit to the #Eagles today, source says. Our guy @MoveTheSticks has said Robinson to Philly makes a ton of sense, though Howie Roseman has never gone RB Round 1. pic.twitter.com/InWMlOPm3G— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 21, 2023
Or maybe you’re among those who will claim this is an obvious smokescreen to get another team to take Robinson and thus push another desired player down to Philly’s first-round selections at No. 10 and No. 30.
I don’t doubt the Eagles might have some legitimate interest in Robinson.
He’s an exciting talent who produced 1,580 rushing yards (6.1 average) and 18 rushing touchdowns in addition to 19 receptions for 314 yards (16.5 average) and two more scores at Texas last year.
And the Birds could reasonably still afford to add more running back talent. Kenneth Gainwell is the only player at his position under contract beyond 2023. OK, so that’s not true since Trey Sermon is signed through 2024 ... but he’s hardly a lock to even make this year’s roster, let alone play a meaningful role. Rashaad Penny’s upside is intriguing but it’s impossible to ignore his injury history. Boston Scott is clearly more of a rotational back as opposed to a feature guy.
Would the Eagles really take Bijan, though? Some, such as the aformentioned Daniel Jeremiah, would argue the Birds should load up on offense. That’s a nice thought. But it’s one that totally ignores Howie Roseman’s track record of not investing much at the position. The Penny signing — a one-year contract reportedly worth just $600K guaranteed — speaks to the nature of being able to get more out of less at that spot. It’s not crazy to say Penny has the upside to be one of the best runners in the league next year, right? At which other position on the team could you sign a player with that kind of potential for that amount of money?
There are always exceptions to rules and maybe Bijan is that guy. But it’ll be worth believing when it actually happens. It’s very difficult to envision the Birds taking Robinson at No. 10. In a trade back? Perhaps a bit more likely but still betting against it. At pick No. 30? Don’t think he makes it there, but if he does ... then, yeah, that’s a scenario where he could be in play.
Scouting report via NFL.com:
Full-menu back blending a smorgasbord of position-specific traits that allow him to affect games. Robinson is well-built with a compact lower half and pairs a low center of gravity with agile feet. There are elements of both fight and flight in his running style, but defenders can never be quite sure what they are going to get. He’s a capable inside/outside runner with unique footwork to stack moves and reset pathways, but can plow into tacklers at a moment’s notice using elite contact balance to keep the run rolling. He might need to dial back efforts to search out big runs so frequently and take what is there a little more often to keep from getting bogged down. His pass-catching talent ensures the opportunity for Robinson to see a high number of touches. He has a chance to become one of the more productive runners in the league very quickly.
NFL Comparison: Josh Jacobs
Spider graph via Mockdraftable: