The Atlanta Falcons on Thursday selected running back Bijan Robinson with the No. 8 overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, making him the highest selected player at that position since Saquon Barkley went No. 2 to the New York Giants in 2018.
NFL teams have been maligned over the last few years for selecting running backs too high in the draft because running backs often have short careers.
Robinson was taken eighth, and the Detroit Lions selected running back Jahmyr Gibbs in a surprise at No. 12.
“I know the running back position in the top 10 is really, really rare. But, I mean, it’s pretty cool to be a guy that can share that and to show the younger kids in college football, the younger running backs, that it’s possible. You just got to do everything the right way and just be as effective as you can for their program,” Robinson said Friday, via ESPN.
Robinson said he believed he and Gibbs could start a new trend in the NFL.
“Our games are kind of similar, and you can line us up anywhere on the field and be just a mismatch as we are at the running back position,” Robinson added. “I see that’s where the running back position is being valued now. That’s where I think it’s going to be headed.”
Robinson said Thursday night he has value as a runner and a pass catcher.
“Obviously, I understand that the running back position has been looked at as a ‘less than’ position. But, I mean, for me, obviously it’s a blessing that I can get these guys even that are in college now that are great running backs seen and looked at the right way,” Robinson said.
“Obviously, for me, being a guy that can play running back, play receiver, kind of be really versatile, it’s an opportunity to do the same thing. It’s definitely a blessing, and I’m happy to share it with those guys as well.”
In each of the last two seasons at Texas, Robinson rushed for more than 1,000 yards.
He had 1,580 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground with 19 catches for 314 yards and two touchdowns through the air in 2022. In 2021, he rushed for 1,127 yards and 11 touchdowns and caught 26 passes for 295 yards and four touchdowns.