Bijan Robinson 2023 NFL Draft Profile

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Texas running back Bijan Robinson (5) celebrates scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in Fair Park, Saturday, October 9, 2021.(Brandon Wade / Special Contributor)

While most NFL fans are getting excited for the playoffs and most college football fans are looking forward to the showdowns in the College Football Playoff, front offices around the league are meeting to start assembling their NFL Draft boards. Area scouts across the country have returned to their franchise headquarters to provide intel on the play, character, and medical backgrounds of many NFL Draft prospects. It may not seem like it from the outside, but the NFL Draft season is already upon us. With that, I’ll be writing scouting reports of the top 2023 NFL Draft prospects until the event is held next April. I start with Bijan Robinson, a 6’0″ 220 lb. running back from Texas who was a unanimous All-American in 2022 and has already opted out of Texas’ bowl game and declared for the 2023 NFL Draft.

Strengths: Robinson is an elite athlete. He possesses a high-end burst to get through a running lane before it closes and the lateral quickness to consistently beat defenders to the perimeter when he chooses to bounce a run to the outside. Perhaps Robinson’s most impressive trait is his ability to string together cuts, making him really dangerous in the open field. Furthermore, his speed allows him to win foot races and breakaway runs to the end zone. Robinson is truly a big play waiting to happen. He is also elusive in small spaces, showing the ability to avoid defenders in the backfield to turn a loss into a gain. At times, Robinson spins out of tackles with great ease. Robinson is a decently-sized running back who can also break tackles with his superior contact balance. When running between the tackles, he lowers his shoulder, churns his legs, and falls forward for extra yards. He runs with good vision and possesses an impressive feel for running lanes. While Texas did not use him much in the receiving game, Robinson flashed tremendous ability in this area. He has the athletic traits to run sudden, crisp routes and beat defenders in man coverage. He can even threaten downfield as a receiver, as he has the ability to track the ball and possesses remarkable body control to adjust to the throw. Robinson’s hands are natural and reliable. 

Weaknesses: Occasionally, Robinson can be too optimistic in regards to his ability to bounce runs outside or evade defenders and loses yardage in trying to do so rather than barreling forward to get a yard or two. In the receiving game, Robinson is still rather inexperienced and should do more to present himself as an option when his quarterback is under duress. Currently, he is inconsistent in pass protection. While he flashes appropriate technique, his hand use is still raw and he too often resorts to chipping with his body instead of effectively using his hands to block. His instincts in picking up blitzes are a work in progress.

Bottom Line: Robinson is one of the best running backs to come out of the college ranks in the last decade. He is an electric playmaker who showcases excellent burst, quickness, speed, and ability to string cuts together in the open field. He may not have been used often as a receiver at Texas, but possesses sky-high potential in this regard due to his rare athletic traits. He should look to improve his technique and blitz pick-up in pass protection to increase his chances of staying on the field on third downs early in his career. The lack of durability and overall bust rate of the running back position makes drafting running backs high a risky proposition, but Robinson is certainly worth a mid-late first-round selection and can realistically earn multiple Pro-Bowl selections in the NFL. 

Draft Projection: Mid-Round 1