AUSTIN, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 03: Bijan Robinson #5 of the Texas Longhorns is tripped up by Lu Tillery #0 of the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks in the first half at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 03, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 03: Bijan Robinson #5 of the Texas Longhorns is tripped up by Lu Tillery #0 of the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks in the first half at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 03, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Longhorns’ Bijan Robinson Isn’t A NFL Franchise Back

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Bijan Robinson does not look elite.

He has some impressive characteristics a team would want in a running back (RB), but he’s missing something.

He’s missing that explosive home run speed once he’s in the clear.

Robinson has most everything else, but that.

This makes him a nice change-of-pace, No. 2 back in the NFL.

He’s a nice looking 3rd down back.

He’s just not a franchise first-round back.

Many draft platforms disagree with that

A vast majority of NFL Draft sites do indeed see Robinson as a first-round talent.

NBC Sports Chicago, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, Pro Football Network, Bleacher Report, Draft Wire, Rise N Draft, The Sporting News, The Athletic, The 33rd Team, Draft Kings, Pro Football Focus, 247Sports, Sports Illustrated, Walter Football, FanSided and SBNation all have put first-round grades on Robinson.

The feeling I get watching Robinson run

He doesn’t excite me enough and he gets stopped too often in the second-level and also at or behind the line of scrimmage.

He can make a man miss, but he’s not Barry Sanders.

He’s can hit the hole quickly, but he doesn’t breakaway like Adrian Peterson did early in his career.

He’s a tough runner, but he’s not Nick Chubb.

Who does Robinson compare to?

D’Andre Swift with the Detroit Lions.

Swift is another one of these tweener change-of-pace backs.

He will never be a featured franchise back regardless of how much Detroit tries to make him one, but he is a valuable runner and pass-catcher for them in today’s pass-happy NFL.

Swift was taken early second-round in the 2020 draft, and that is where I can see Robinson going.

Robinson will make a nice addition to a team like the Tennessee Titans, who already have their franchise back in Derrick Henry, but they can bring in Robinson at times to give Henry a breather, while gashing a defense.

What are some of Robinson’s best attributes?

I love how selfless he is and how aware he is of what’s going on, which are two more reasons he will be an ideal 3rd down back at the next level.

It’s a common occurrence to see Robinson stay in and pick up a blitz.

It’s also great how he pays attention to his quarterback in passing situations and how he works into position to make himself a visible check-down throwing option.

He’s like, “Here I am, throw it to me…throw it to me,” when the quarterback is running for his life.

Keep an eye on his injuries

Robinson got banged up in 2021.

He sustained a shoulder injury against Alabama that required an MRI last September.

In November, he had a neck-strain against Iowa State before his season ended with a dislocated elbow suffered against Kansas.

#5 Bijan Robinson 6-foot-0, 220 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s Grade: Second-Round – Early Fall 2022 Report

First Round Mock Big Board: TBD

Projected by 90.4% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of September 22, 2022 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

2021 game film reviewed: Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Arkansas (click to watch games viewed to form this evaluation)

Level of competition: High

2021 rushing stats: 195 carries for 1,127 yards (5.8 avg.), 11 TD, 62 long

2021 receiving stats: 26 receptions (33 targets) 295 yards (11.3 avg.), 4 TD, 38 long

NFL comparable: D’Andre Swift

2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report:

Lean, tough and shifty back with burst, but lacks home run speed and he runs high. Butter knife runner inside the tackles with good vision and hits the holes quickly. Doesn’t waste time and gets up into the second level of a defense. He is a determined and balanced runner who can make a man miss and he isn’t the easiest to bring down. Will take what a defense gives him, but doesn’t blow the doors off once he’s in the clear. Does a solid job protecting the football (2 fumbles in 2021, both against Iowa State). Good on blitz pickup and he is a dependable safety valve who can line up wide. Will hit a lot of base hits and doubles type of runner.

What to watch for during the 2022 college football season:

  1. Does he explode for huge runs?
  2. Is he running too high?
  3. Injuries?
  4. Is he being stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage a lot?

Robinson is good, he is just not dynamic enough.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated New York Jets and he is the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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