There’s a growing belief amongst Eagles fans that Texas running back Bijan Robinson would be a good fit and a good draft selection for the Eagles with one of their two first-round picks – perhaps even with pick 10.
While just weeks ago it seemed there wasn’t interest from many in the fanbase, it seems that almost half the fanbase is now on board or at least undecided on whether or not the pick would be something that they’d do. Where do you stand on that issue – should Robinson be a consideration for one of those first-round selections?
Look, I’m old enough to remember the call to arms by 610 WIP’s Angelo Cataldi and 30 morons to draft another Texas running back in the Top 10 nearly 25-years ago. The concept of drafting Ricky Williams No. 2 overall in 1999 was dumb and the concept of drafting Bijan Robinson in the Top 10 in this draft is just as dumb.
I get it, the media plays it up as though Robinson is a generational running back. Maybe he is. But, I ask you, who is the last generational running back that made a difference in the National Football League? And by “make a difference” I’m talking about leading their team to a Super Bowl title.
Depending on how technical you want it, Leonard Fournette was taken second overall and he was with a team as their lead back for a Super Bowl title. Of course, that was for a different team after he was released and it’s not like he was the reason they won. Reggie Bush played a part in his team’s Super Bowl, but he was injured much of that season, too much so to really contribute.
I think the real answer for you would be Jamal Lewis back in the 1999 draft. The Ravens took him with the fourth pick and built a run-based offense and a tough defense that carried them to a Super Bowl title. A that would bring about the old question of how important is the future – he only had three really good seasons with Baltimore – if that brings you one title, is it worth it?
23 drafts and over 50 first-round backs later and people are still clamoring over themselves to make a point. The Chiefs just beat the Eagles to win a Super Bowl with a seventh-round pick as their lead back instead of the first-round pick they selected a few years earlier. Still we’re seeing people go out of their way to try and do anything they can to convince themselves a running back is a grand idea in round one, like calling him a “weapon” or a “difference-maker” even though they know what position he really plays.
History seems to indicate that no matter how good a back is, it isn’t enough to reach the promised land and new exciting backs pop up from the late rounds and UDFA every single season. I thought they had witnessed the end of such discussions a few years back when teams spent first-round picks and then signed mega deals with Todd Gurley, McCaffrey, Barkley and Elliott just to see all four go down, miss multiple seasons and leave the teams with tons of dead cap.
Yet, here we are. Do you think there’s any chance Howie is fooled? When do you think it’d be an acceptable time of the draft to start looking at running backs?
I forgot all about Jamal Lewis! Great back, short career.
Yes, he did help bring a championship to Baltimore so I’m sure Baltimore football fans are forever grateful. But the game has changed SO much since 1999. It’s just a fact that winning franchises don’t waste Top 10 picks on running backs. Lookin’ at you New York Football Giants.
Fans get caught up in the PFF rankings, combine stats, and what the talking heads on TV and podcasts –by the way, Eagledephia Podcast…coming soon— have to say come draft time. The fans forget that football is a business and the Eagles, since Jeff Lurie took over in 1995, have been damn good at this business. They’re good because they know how to spend money the correct way to create a team built for long term success. Unfortunately, for the very vocal minority of the fanbase that means drafting a running back in the first few rounds.
Running backs have short careers in the NFL, Statisa has it at 2.57 years and that’s about right. If the Eagles were to take Robinson with No. 10 overall it’s more than likely he’s only going to be at his peak productivity for 2-3 years. It goes back to what I said above, that’s just not smart business.
No don’t get me wrong, if the Eagles drafted Robinson there’s nothing wrong with the move but the fan base needs to prepare for the future repercussions ie. not being able to sign the DeVonta Smith’s of the world because money is tied up in the backfield.
I’m going to take the easy way out on your question about “when” to look for a running back in the 2023 NFL Draft. My answer, it depends on how the first round plays out.
If a player like Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs is sitting there when the Eagles pick at No. 30 then they should consider taking him. Frankly, I’m a fan of some of the players that are slotted in rounds 3-5. Oklahoma’s Eric Gray is projected as a 4th round guy who is comparable to Mile Sanders. I also like Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim who is comparable to Kansas City’s Isiah Pacheco, he is patient and runs hard. He’s likely to be available in the 4th or 5th round.
But that’s where the Eagles run into issues, they don’t have any picks as of right now in the 4th-6th rounds.
While I absolutely agree with you on the need for the Eagles to try and pick up some additional mid-to-late-round picks and that I’d like to see Mohamed Ibrahim join the team, I’m not sure I can agree with taking Gibbs at 30.
I’m still a bit hesitant even later in that first round. I’d feel better about taking Gibbs if they could find a partner willing to send them some extra picks to drop into the top part of the second round and look to target him there. That’d also give the team the potential to take two other impact players if he’s off the board and give them the additional picks to pull out a backup plan for someone like Ibrahim, Kansas State’s Deuce Vaughn or Illinois’ Chase Brown.
At this point, I suppose we won’t have to wait too much longer to see what the Eagles front office’s thoughts really are regarding this debate.
The Eagledelphia podcast with Michael and Paul is coming soon. Be on the lookout for the drop of pod.