7 reasons Eagles have to ignore Bijan Robinson at tenth-overall selection

Bijan Robinson #5, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Bijan Robinson #5, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

We’re less than a week away! Perhaps you’ve heard. Pro football’s Super Bowl of the offseason begins on Thursday, April 27th. The 88th NFL Draft is scheduled for an 8 p.m. start as the sports world shuts down for three days. Sure, there will be NBA playoff contests. Fans will pack seats for MLB games. There’s even USFL and XFL action if that’s your thing, but who are we kidding? Nothing will hold a candle to the annual selection meeting. The Philadelphia Eagles currently own six picks, including two in Round 1.

The uniqueness of Philly’s situation is one that we have discussed in great detail. Never have the Birds represented the NFC in the Super Bowl and done an about-face two months later to make a top-ten selection, but that’s where they find themselves at this juncture. As you might imagine, that has caused some fuss and led to a few questions. Let’s rewind the tape and examine some.

Should the Eagles play the long game? Should they treat this selection like a bonus pick,  ‘do something out of the ordinary’, and take a talent like Bijan Robinson? Should they avoid the temptation to splurge and take yet another depth option? Should they gamble on someone that can play immediately?

If Bijan played anything other than football’s most punishing position and had he excelled to the same level, this wouldn’t even be much of a discussion, but teams don’t value running backs as much as they once did.

Still, he’s damn good at what he does. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen compared him to Christian McCaffrey. Those are the types of statements you shouldn’t ignore, but when it comes to the debates about what Philly should or shouldn’t do, it felt like this discussion deserved more time.

We watched every game he played in, listened to scouts, and consulted with longer-tenured and wiser voices. In the end, here’s what we discovered.

The Eagles would be wise to avoid being tempted. Have a seat. Let’s discuss specifics.

light. Related Story. 4 legendary RBs Philly selected after round one

Here are seven of about 20 reasons the Eagles have to ignore Bijan Robinson at the tenth-overall selection.

Before we go any further, let’s end at least one discussion. Bijan Robinson is a stud! He’ll be a star in this league, even if we can’t guarantee how long he’ll be one.

You can expect to see some early and frequent success. That may even cause some envy if Philly passes or if another team takes him earlier. But, to answer the question about whether Philly should invest a top-ten selection into drafting him?

Here’s a ‘no’ vote for no. Here’s the explanation.

1. Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, and Breece Hall should have ended this discussion for you a while ago.

Remember when Saquon Barkley was the generational tailback that was supposed to rewrite our thinking? Remember when he was ‘one of the only guys who were worthy of being drafted that high’? How did that work out?

The New York Giants took Saquon second overall. He played all 16 games as a rookie. He missed three in year two. A trip to the injured reserve ended his third season after one game and four carries during his second, and though it feels like he has been in the league for nine seasons, the truth is the coming campaign is his sixth.

We could also mention Ezekiel Elliott’s rapid decline, all the injury issues that Dalvin Cook has had, or even recently, Breece Hall’s ACL tear during Week 7 of the most recent NFL season. Teams shy away from investing heavily in running backs for a reason.

Now, ask yourself a question. Is Bijan Robinson better than Saquon, Zeke, or Breece Hall? You don’t know the answer to that, do you? Let that sink in for a second.

2. Stop letting people lie to you. Great defense still wins in the NFL.

A good offense is a substitute for defense. How many times have you heard that recently?

We get it. We know where you’re coming from. We have heard tons of you say this recently. The Philadelphia Eagles gave up 33 points and won a Super Bowl. They gave up 38 points and lost one.

Be careful. Don’t let the failures of Jim Johnson and Jonathan Gannon on football’s biggest stage fool you.

While it’s easy to point to high-scoring games and state ‘That’s the new NFL’ and that defense in this league is passé, there’s something you ought to remember.

It was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ DEFENSE that throttled the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV, and defense has led to many wins for the Eagles as well. Look at the broader picture. Winning shootouts do not a complete team make. J.G.’s guys helped get Philly to football’s biggest game, and had they made one stop during the second half last February, we probably aren’t having this discussion.

3. The Eagles didn’t lose the Super Bowl because they were missing an elite tailback.

Yeah… Again, no disrespect to Bijan, but we aren’t rocking with this theory that Robinson is the missing piece to getting the Birds back to football’s biggest stage and getting them over the hump.

That brings us to another immediate theory.

4. Respectfully, if you’re honest with yourselves, you’ll discover you’re letting fear drive you.

Remember that time Donovan McNabb got drafted and all of those Eagles fans booed? That story has been told wrong for decades. Birds fans weren’t booing Donovan. They were booing the Eagles’ leadership structure for electing not to take Ricky Williams when they had made it clear that’s what they wanted.

What’s funny about that draft was, in the end, the organization made the right decision, and much of the Eagles contingent wasn’t prepared for the idea of the brass being right and most of the rest of us being wrong. Sure, there were bad decisions. Philadelphia has missed the mark during the draft. Hey, it happens. That’s part of the deal at this time of the year. Here’s a free therapy session for some of you though.

Your desire for Bijan is based on two components that you aren’t aware are warring. First, many of you are joining a hype train because you’ve seen other people join it. This second statement is a big one. After seeing the Eagles pass on D.K. Metcalf AND Justin Jefferson, you’re fearful that Philly might miss it on another offensive star again.

There’s nothing wrong with that. While we’re arguing against this selection, admittedly, we’re fearful too. Still, that fear can’t be the determining factor, not when other prospects are expected to be ten-year starters.

5. You do realize they don’t play defense in the Big 12 right?

So far, one of the more popular arguments we have heard for taking Bijan Robinson went something like this. “if the Eagles only get five years out of this guy, at least they’ll get five great years”.

Yeah… That one isn’t doing it for us. The tape isn’t doing it for us either.

First of all, you do realize that no one plays defense in the BIig 12 right? We’re not saying that he isn’t good, we’re just saying his highlight reel gets cut in half if he plays in the SEC West.

Here’s what  Bijan did versus the two toughest opponents on the Longhorns’ schedule:

  • Versus TCU – 12 carries, 29 yards, a 2.4 yards-per-carry average, a long of nine yards
  • Versus Alabama – 21 carries, 57 yards, one TD, a long of 18 yards

Now in fairness, versus The Tide, Texas manufactured other ways to get the ball into Bijan’s hands, and that was helpful. He caught three passes for 73 yards, but the point of all of that is this.

NFL defenses are a long way from what he has seen in the Big 12, and many of you are going to be shocked when he breaks out into the open field with the 4.4 speed and gets tracked down 20 yards downfield by a defender that runs a 4.4 or a 4.3. Trust us on this. That day is coming.

6. Great running backs can be found after Round 1.

We really don’t need to dedicate a ton of time to this, do we? Philadelphia’s all-time leading rusher was a second-round selection. He passed another Eagles legend that Philly drafted in Round 6 to get there.

Great running backs can often be found on the second day of the draft, but here’s something else to chew on. Bijan’s backup at Texas, Roschon Johnson, is expected to be drafted too, so are we wrong for saying that, for as talented as Robinson is, there may be something to the argument that he benefitted from playing on a great offense versus defenses that are allergic to tackling?

7. With THIS offensive line, it may not matter who you place in the backfield at running back.

Every time we discuss great rushing attacks, we find ourselves in discussions about Mike Shanahan and all of those great running games that he constructed. At one point, it didn’t matter who the Denver Broncos plugged in. They were going to be successful. Stop us if this sounds familiar.

The Eagles have been home to the NFL’s best rushing attack for the past two seasons. They were elite before Bijan. They’ll be elite if he never wears an Eagles jersey, and the reason for that is simple.

They have the game’s best offensive line.

Something tells us Rashaad Penny will produce some fantastic numbers. We believe Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell, and whoever else the Eagles add are going to eat too… just like Jordan Howard ate… and LeGarrette Blount ate… and Jay Ajayi ate (for a little while). Heck, some of you can run behind this Eagles’ offensive line and gain about 500 yards.

Let’s not forget what this team’s strength is.

Final thoughts:

Don’t get us wrong. If Bijan Robinson was the Eagles’ choice at ten, we’d be the first to welcome him with open arms. He, by no means, would be a bad selection, but we’re convinced that a ten-year starter that will play longer will be available when Philadelphia is on the clock.

For us, that’s what this comes down to.

Who knows though? Maybe the Chicago Bears take Bijan at nine to help Justin Fields out and that would eliminate the temptation. Maybe he gets drafted higher and all of these conversations would have been for no reason.

We won’t have to twiddle our fingers much longer. The NFL Draft is less than a week away.