Eagles use top-five selection to draft NCAA’s best tailback in recent mock

Bijan Robinson #5, Texas Longhorns (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Bijan Robinson #5, Texas Longhorns (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Have you seen the latest mock draft from ESPN’s Todd McShay? It’s quite interesting. The Philadelphia Eagles have two first-round picks next year in 2023’s NFL Draft, their own and one they earned by way of a trade with the New Orleans Saints.

If the draft was scheduled for this morning, having ownership of the Saints’ first-rounder would ensure the Eagles picked fifth overall. McShay believes Texas Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson is someone to make note of. Isaiah Foskey (defensive end, Notre Dame) is McShay’s pick for Philadelphia at 31.

Expect a few more mock drafts before we land in April. For now, however, we have a lot to discuss.

Here’s what every Eagles fan needs to know about Texas running back Bijan Robinson.

Robinson is from Tucson, Arizona. In high school, he ran for 7,036 yards and scored a state-record 114 touchdowns. He was named the Arizona Gatorade Football Player of the Year as a senior. He joined the University of Texas in 2020.

Robinson rushed for 703 yards and two touchdowns in nine games as a freshman. He averaged 8.2 yards per carry and was named MVP of the Alamo Bowl after running for 183 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries.

In three years with the Longhorns, he tallied 3,321 yards rushing, 805 yards receiving, and 39 touchdowns. He’s ranked as the seventh-best prospect in the upcoming draft according to the Sporting News.

Pro Football Focus grades Robinson much lower. He’s still their top-ranked running back, but he’s the 22nd-highest-ranked prospect on their board. Twenty-two does seem a more reasonable ranking given how NFL teams seem to devalue running backs as of late, especially during recent drafts.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the 32nd-overall selection of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020 and the last running back to be taken in the first round. Three years later, he’s on injured reserve and has been replaced by Isiah Pacheco, a seventh-round pick from Rutgers. Josh Jacobs was the 24th overall selection in 2019 and the only tailback taken in Round 1 that year.

Saquon Barkley was the last running back to be drafted with a top-five selection. He went second overall to the Giants in 2018. Leonard Fournette was drafted fourth overall by Jacksonville in 2017. The New York Giants haven’t gotten anywhere near a Super Bowl appearance, and the Jaguars waived Fournette on August 31st of 2020 when no team would trade for him.

NFL teams simply don’t value the running back position as they once did. To put it another way, the chances of the Eagles drafting Bijan Robinson with a top-five selection seem unlikely. He’s a fantastic player, but that asking price is too high.

Of course, Howie Roseman could always trade the fifth selection to accumulate more draft collateral. He could also re-sign Miles Sanders and look for the next Pacheco in later rounds. Draft theories are always interesting. We figure to discuss them often between now and the end of April, but there’s a lot of meaningful football left.

First things first. The Philadelphia Eagles are hoping they will still be playing football in February.

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