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Stop mock drafting Bijan Robinson to the Eagles

Zero RB strategy isn’t just for fantasy football

Baylor v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

It seems that every year mock drafters love shoehorning a player to the Eagles in the 1st round at a position that the Eagles will absolutely not take in the 1st round. Usually it is a linebacker, but this year it is Texas running back Bijan Robinson.

Bijan Robinson is a really good player, but he’s not some can’t miss generational prospect. The idea that Robinson is one of the best prospects in this draft class is more about how the talent is distributed in this draft, there are three or four non-QB tier 1 prospects and then a a lot of tier 2 prospects. There’s always a handful of players that the media tries to talk into being better than they are. This year that’s happening with Robinson, Peter Skoronski, and Lukas Van Ness.

The Eagles could use another running back, as Kenneth Gainwell (career high 101 touches) and Boston Scott (105 touches) haven’t even been high usage platoon players and Rashaad Penny can’t be trusted to be healthy for a full season. But to add one at 10th overall? Come on now.

Rhett Lewis,

How high is too high for a running back? When the back is one of the best overall players in this class, No. 10 seems reasonable to me. I love the fit here, considering Philly’s commitment to the run and clear aim to maximize a championship window with a blossoming young quarterback.

Joel Klatt, Fox Sports

“This one is the freebie of all freebies. When you dive into the Eagles, they don’t really have a need. Everyone else that has selected to this point, they’ve got five or six needs, but the Eagles are one of the most complete rosters in the NFL. Why not just take the most dynamic player on the board?

“It’s a pick saying ‘we are one of the best teams in the NFL right now and this guy makes us better right now. It alleviates some of the pressure on Jalen Hurts because he has an outlet immediately and there’s another dynamic player that has to be defended side to side … you put a guy like Bijan Robinson on the Eagles, and I am in.”

Ryan Wilson, CBS

Let’s bring weird from Austin to Philly with this pick. Is it something of a reach to think the Eagles would take a running back with the 10th pick? Yeah, sure. But the team will reportedly host Robinson on a top-30 visit, and while that doesn’t guarantee anything, it is a sign they’re interested. And they should be because Robinson is special — and he’d be a perfect in the Eagles’ offense, even with the loss of Shane Steichen. And if the club doesn’t think he’ll be on the board when they’re back on the clock at No. 30, then maybe this isn’t so weird after all.

Chet Gresham, DraftKings Nation

I’ve gotten to where I don’t understand why a team would take any running back this early in the draft, but I’m coming around to the Eagles doing just that with Robinson. Would Robinson have pushed them over the edge in last year’s Super Bowl? Probably not, but maybe, and he fits what this team wants to do very well. Will he be worth signing a big extension in three years, it’s hard to say, but the Eagles remain primed for another playoff run and Robinson plus Jalen Hurts will be a nightmare matchup problem, especially when A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith are running free in the secondary.

You’ll notice these all have something in common. They acknowledge that the Eagles taking a RB 10th overall is absurd! I did not selectively pick these, they’re just recent national mocks with Robinson to the Eagles at 10.

What are we doing here? If you know that 1st round running backs are bad draft value, and you know the Eagles don’t invest much in the position, then you should know that Bijan Robinson at 10 makes no sense. Very rarely is “I know this is stupid, but” the start of a good idea. It is most certainly not a good idea when you know that what you are proposing is not going to happen.

Miles Sanders is the highest draft pick Howie Roseman has ever used on a RB, at 53rd overall, and the Eagles let him walk in free agency after a career year. Sanders is the only RB in the Roseman era the team has used a day 1 or 2 pick on either to draft or trade for. They drafted Donnel Pumphrey in the 4th round in 2017, and later that season traded a 2018 4th for Jay Ayaji. They drafted Wendell Smallwood in 2016 and Kenneth Gainwell in 2021 with 5th round picks and traded a 5th for Darren Sproles, Jordan Howard was acquired for a 6th round pick, and Bryce Brown was drafted in the 7th. Boston Scott was signed off a practice squad, Corey Clement and Josh Adams were undrafted free agents, LeGarrette Blount and now Rashaad Penny were veteran free agents on inexpensive, one-year contracts.

Howie Roseman does not spend resources or money on RB, and it’s worked out pretty well for him.

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