There's a reason why Bijan Robinson is expected to be the only running back selected in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. The former Texas Longhorns standout has all the attributes of a future NFL star, with the potential to make a good offense a special one.
At 6-foot and 215 pounds, Robinson has the ideal size for a starting running back. He parlayed his physical gifts into a highly successful career at Texas that included a 2022 campaign where he amassed nearly 1,900 total yards and 20 touchdowns.
An extremely elusive back, Robinson at times looked like a bigger version of Barry Sanders while at Texas. After making defenders miss, Robinson often found himself in the end zone after leaving defensive backs in his wake. When he wasn't running the ball, Robinson could be found picking up a blitz in pass protection. He was also often on the receiving end of passes while showing off his versatility.
Vision and decisiveness are two of Robinson's best qualities as a football player. Using his keen vision, Robinson typically doesn't waste time figuring out where he's going to run. That ability should serve him well at the next level as he gets acclimated to playing within a pro offense.
While the value of the position has been diminished in recent years, running backs are still a very important part of any successful offense. Just ask the Chiefs who, including the playoffs, went 13-1 in games with then-rookie Isiah Pacheco in the starting lineup.
With the NFL Draft just around the corner, here are the five teams that would benefit most by selecting Robinson.
This was the Bills' first-round pick in CBS Sports NFL Draft expert Ryan Wilson's . As Wilson noted in his piece, the Bills could use a back who can complement James Cook, who in a backup role last season ran for over 500 yards and averaged 5.7 yards-per-carry. The Bills also need a back who can replace Devin Singletary, who signed with the Texans in free agency.
Robinson would add even more firepower to a Buffalo offense that currently features quarterback Josh Allen and fellow Pro Bowlers Stefon Diggs and Dawson Knox. His presence would likely force defenses to pay less attention to Buffalo's receivers, which could lead to an MVP-caliber 2023 season for Allen.
Dallas has other needs (specifically tight end) that they could choose to address with the 26th overall pick. But there is still a hole at running back that was created when the team parted ways with Ezekiel Elliott. Tony Pollard is back, but given his pending contract situation, it would make a lot of sense for the Cowboys to draft Robinson and keep him in the Lone Star State.
Along with replacing Elliott's rushing production, Robinson could also provide similar pass protection for Dak Prescott while also serving as a viable receiving option.
The Chargers make a lot of sense given Austin Ekeler's recent trade request. In Los Angeles, Robinson would join forces with Justin Herbert, the first quarterback in history to start his career with three consecutive 4,000-yard passing seasons. Robinson would also be a good complement for Joshua Kelley, a physical back who saw an uptick in production last season.
There's been a lot of talk that the Bengals will draft a tight end with the No. 28 overall pick. But coach Zac Taylor said this week that he expects free agent signee Irv Smith Jr. to pick up where former starter Hayden Hurst left off. That would seem to suggest that the Bengals are interested in using their first pick on another position.
Cincinnati currently has Joe Mixon, but the team has made no assurances that the former Pro Bowler will be on the roster this season. The Bengals also need to find a replacement for third down specialist Samaje Perine, who signed with the Broncos in free agency.
It's very likely that the Bengals could have Robinson and Mixon in the backfield for the 2023 season. In this scenario, Cincinnati would have arguably the NFL's best offense, a unit that recently added Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Brown Jr.
On paper, the Eagles have a solid running back group with Kenneth Gainwell, Rashaad Penny and Boston Scott leading the way. But given Penny's injury history and Gainwell and Scott's lack of starting experience, it would make sense for the Eagles to draft Robinson to serve as Miles Sanders' replacement.
Robinson would obviously make life easier for Jalen Hurts, who came up just short of leading the Eagles to the franchise's second Super Bowl win in 2022. He would also help open things up for 1,000-yard receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.