2023 NFL Draft Landing Spots: Bijan Robinson Joins Buffalo Bills

Arguably the best playmaker in the 2023 NFL Draft will find a new home on Thursday night after the first round kicks off. Although running backs have undoubtedly been devalued in recent years, Texas star rusher Bijan Robinson is special enough to warrant top-10 consideration.

Despite his talent, Robinson’s NFL Draft landing spots are uncertain. As teams are wringing their hands over balancing the value of the position, one franchise will gain a massive difference-maker. Let’s dive into Robinson’s landing spot in PFN Insider Adam Caplan’s latest 2023 NFL Mock Draft.

Bijan Robinson’s NFL Draft Landing Spot Revealed

Robinson’s NFL draft landing spot has a wide range, as Caplan notes he’s in consideration as high as No. 8 overall with the Atlanta Falcons. He also listed Robinson as a fit for the Vikings as they’re weighing the cost of moving on from star Dalvin Cook. Neither of these should be too surprising, as Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer noted he’s a top-five player on many teams’ boards.

MORE: FREE Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

Instead of Robinson going to Atlanta or Minnesota, the rich get even richer in Caplan’s latest mock. The Buffalo Bills, selecting 27th overall, were the eventual landing spot for Robinson. Caplan notes that “three to four teams” could select Robinson before he rewarded the Bills with arguably the best player in the draft.

This hasn’t been an unpopular pairing. In late March, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. gave Buffalo Robinson as well, saying he’s “perfect” for the Bills. With the draft rapidly approaching, it appears as though this could become a new reality as the Bills look to help quarterback Josh Allen.

What Does a Bills Offense With Bijan Robinson Look Like?

Robinson’s résumé is incredibly impressive. The 5’11”, 215-pound back totaled 3,410 yards and 33 touchdowns on 539 carries, plus added 60 receptions for 805 yards and eight scores over three seasons. He not only looks the part in pads, but he has a domineering presence on the field because he so effortlessly moves through traffic.

He confirmed the belief he’s an elite athlete at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. Running a 4.46 40-yard dash and leaping 37″ in the vertical and 124″ in the broad jump immediately established Robinson as the full package that teams could bank on. His film is filled with the polish and nuance that few elite athletes at running back develop, and his athleticism left no doubt he has All-Pro potential.

To put it briefly, Robinson fits every offense. His ability to catch passes and block in pass protection are important facets of his game that separate him from past first-round flops. But he’s also so talented as a rusher and an athlete that they’re not needed parts to justify taking him in the first.

It’s fair to be down on taking a running back in the first round, but the recent slew of first-round busts had more to do with teams misidentifying their talent and less to do with the position being a worthwhile investment. The Chiefs’ decision to take Clyde Edwards-Helaire in 2020 was a bad one because Edwards-Helaire wasn’t a great player, but had they taken Jonathan Taylor, the process that led them to take a back wouldn’t have been questioned.

MORE: Should the Buffalo Bills Target a WR in Round 1?

The Bills don’t have an especially glaring need for a running back. They invested a second-round pick in James Cook last year and replaced Devin Singletary with Damien Harris. In the modern NFL, where Allen is your quarterback, that’s all the talent that a backfield needs for a team to have a shot at winning a Super Bowl.

Cook was solid after bouncing back from fumbling on his first career carry, averaging 5.7 yards per attempt and adding 180 receiving yards on 21 receptions. But when Buffalo really needed a play, it always came down to Allen having to shoulder the load. Allen will always undertake the task, but with Robinson, the Bills can easily justify asking less of their star quarterback.

Robinson’s awareness to put a “big emphasis on pass blocking” throughout his tenure at Texas is a telling example of where his career will go. The Bills ranked eighth in pass attempts and only 15th in rushing attempts last year, so it’s critical any Bills back is competent in pass protection. Though Cook will always have value as a receiver, Robinson’s presence brings stability in knowing he can be on the field every play.

The Bills’ offense won’t change drastically with Robinson added, but it raises the floor on his touches. He’s more explosive and dynamic than Cook and Harris and can better take advantage of Allen’s presence. Allen may also trust him more than his previous backfields, which could, in turn, lower his rising interception rate to more palatable levels.

Buffalo has all of the offensive upside in the world, but they beat themselves because Allen is asked to do so much. Giving him a top-tier contributor to assist can remove some of the risks in asking Allen to do it all and make the offense more balanced and sustainable.

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