With the 2023 NFL Draft less than two weeks away, it’s time to take a closer look at one of the top prospects available in Texas running back Bijan Robinson. While some teams have reservations about investing a first round pick in a running back, there’s no doubt that Robinson has a ton of upside. Below, we continue our NFL odds series with a prediction for the team to pick Robinson in the upcoming draft.
Widely regarded as the top running back prospect since Saquon Barkley in 2018, Robinson looks the part as a complete, three-down back that can excel in any scheme at the next level. While he’s not always going to be the fastest guy on the field, he operates with exceptional vision, power, and breakaway speed.
The 5-11, 215-pound back rushed for 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns on 258 carries (6.1 YPC) in his junior year, earning unanimous first-team All-American honors, along with the Doak Walker Award as the best running back in college football.
Robinson has virtually no weaknesses in his game. He can plow through defenders with tremendous contact balance or break their ankles with sudden jump cuts. While his receiving production didn’t stand out on paper, his pass-catching skills certainly stood out on film. He has an incredibly smooth running style, and he’s drawn several comparisons to Hall of Famer Edgerrin James.
The issue for Robinson has nothing to do with him—it’s the short shelf life of the running back position, which carries an increased injury risk. It’s also an exceptionally strong and deep draft class at running back. But there’s no question Robinson is the top prospect at the position and he’s a pro-ready, plug-and-play prospect with All-Pro potential. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the odds and make a final prediction for which team will draft Bijan Robinson in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Here are the 2023 NFL Draft odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
2023 NFL Draft Odds: Team To Draft Bijan Robinson
Atlanta Falcons: +400
Dallas Cowboys: +500
Houston Texans: +800
Los Angeles Chargers: +900
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The Atlanta Falcons have made some savvy moves to overhaul their defense in free agency, but they need more playmakers on offense if they’re going to take the next step and compete for the division crown this upcoming season. While they could also find another weapon to pair up with Drake London and Kyle Pitts early on in the draft, Robinson would be a terrific fit for the Falcons’ wide-zone scheme and physical, ground-and-pound offense.
Atlanta ran the ball 559 times in 2022, more than any team in the league, despite being led by the likes of fifth-round rookie Tyler Allgeier, second-year undrafted free agent Caleb Huntley, and 31-year-old Cordarrelle Patterson. While Allgeier impressed, Robinson brings so much more to the table, and his presence could make life a lot easier for second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder, who has just four starts under his belt.
With that being said, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Falcons opted to pass on Robinson in favor of continuing to overhaul a defense that finished with the second-fewest sacks (21) in the NFL last year and was generally one of the worst units in the league.
While this would be seen as more of a luxury pick nationally and a massive marketing success for the Dallas Cowboys, taking Robinson—and even trading up a handful of spots to secure him—would make some logical sense, too. The Cowboys don’t have very many holes on their roster, and Robinson would clearly be the top prospect on their board if he fell to them at the 26th overall pick.
With Ezekiel Elliott out of the picture, Tony Pollard is the only proven back on the team, and he’s currently set to play on the franchise tag as he recovers from a fractured fibula and high ankle injury that he suffered in the playoffs. Getting a true game-changer like Robinson in the backfield would certainly open up more opportunities for the passing game, which includes Pollard, who flourished in those opportunities down the stretch last season.
While the idea of landing a top-end talent like Robinson is tantalizing to some for the Houston Texans, Dameon Pierce had a terrific rookie season, and they already added Devin Singletary in free agency. In addition, this is a loaded RB class that offers better value later in the draft (Jahmyr Gibbs, Devon Achane, Tyjae Spears, and Israel Abanikanda) relative to the position and the rest of the team’s pressing needs.
The Texans need to find a franchise quarterback, a number one wide receiver, and a center after last year’s disaster of a season. Houston also has major holes at defensive end and linebacker, and may want to plan for the future at defensive tackle and cornerback, as Sheldon Rankins, Maliek Collins, and Steven Nelson are all set to hit free agency again next year.
Nevertheless, Brett Kollmann went on the Texans Fan Battle Podcast and said he thinks the Texans will draft Robinson if he’s available with the 12th overall pick. It’s certainly in the range of outcomes here.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers haven’t been able to run the ball or stop the run in quite a few years. They had the third-fewest rushing yards last season while allowing the fifth-most on the ground on the other side of the ball. As their young offensive line continues to improve and develop some continuity, the Chargers should be looking to energize their rushing attack with a real game-changer.
Los Angeles is also trying to find a trade partner for veteran RB Austin Ekeler, but regardless of whether Ekeler finds a new home during the draft, right before the season, or winds up parting ways with the team after the 2023 season, he’s not in LA’s future plans. Robinson would give the Bolts a true complete back and take some of the pressure off of Justin Herbert and the passing game. Being able to sustain longer drives and bleed the clock out will also pay dividends for the Chargers’ run defense as well.
Other Potential Landing Spots
If you’re wondering which team has the fifth-best odds of winding up with Robinson, it’s actually a four-way tie between the New England Patriots, Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles, and Detroit Lions at +1000. And while this one’s a bit off the wall, the Arizona Cardinals are massive long-shots at +4000 (in a four-way tie for having the 15th-best odds) to land the Tucson, AZ native. But with six teams reportedly inquiring about the third overall pick, the Cardinals are a team to watch if they drop down several spots in a potential trade.
Team To Draft Bijan Robinson Prediction
The Lions and Eagles seem to be picking up some steam as potential destinations for Bijan Robinson, but ultimately the Chargers seem like the best bet here due to the lack of talent and depth at the position on their roster, along with the pressing need to fix their run game with a more balanced approach on both sides of the ball. As we get further down the draft board, there will be less concern with so-called reaching for an elite talent at a non-premium position, so look for the Chargers to pull the plug on their recent RB drought.
Team To Draft Jalen Carter Prediction: Los Angeles Chargers +900