It’s almost impossible to value players before the NFL Draft.
Hypothetical: Bijan Robinson ends up in Houston. But they have Dameon Pierce, you say? Remember the Jets last year had Michael Carter, and they drafted Breece Hall. So Robinson lands in an RBBC instantly. Maybe Robinson dominates the RBBC, or not. Regardless, he suddenly has more questions than just simply “best RB in the draft”. Not to mention the pathetic Houston o-line.
That would make Pierce droppable, unless you wanted to keep him as a handcuff.
Carter had played a very solid 2021 season, and many speculated that the Jets will trust him to lead the backfield in 2022. Instead, they drafted Hall, and Carter became droppable, while Hall thrived until his season was cut short by injury.
Robinson is the greatest RB talent since Saquon Barkley. For talents on that level, the landing spot is almost irrelevant. Such players can elevate an entire franchise. For me, the only team among the likely suitors that would not excite me are the Falcons. Not because Allgeier scares me, but because the entire offense is in a terrible state and may need 2-3 years to be fixed. But even then, Bijan is still the 1.01 for me.
Houston can turn into a solid team in 2023 and beyond, if they play their cards right. Their o-line improved over the season, and they have enough draft capital and cap space to improve it further. I don’t expect them to draft Bijan, as I would be surprised if they didn’t address QB and WR with their first round picks. But if he’s still on the board at 1.12 and they decide to grab him, that wouldn’t scare me off Bijan at all.
I’m not talking about “scaring off”, but rather “give pause”.
More hypothetical: RB Jahmyr Gibbs ends up at Miami. Let’s be honest, Jeff Wilson will only hold him off for so long. Gibbs will own that backfield at some point next year. But with Gibbs at Miami, and Robinson in Houston, Gibbs suddenly looks like an intriguingly better pick.
To paraphrase Dennis Hopper in “Speed”, pop quiz, hotshot. Who do you take?
One addendum: Robinson in Miami becomes the best 1.01 of all time.
Miami joins the 2023 draft only late in the second round. They would probably have to pawn off their 2024-2034 1sts, plus their stadium and Mike McDaniel’s firstborn to get a shot at Bijan.
I agree, the landing spot would be ideal. But I don’t think it’s likely. I think they’ll rather go after Jacobs, Pollard or maybe even Saquon, if they can get creative with their cap situation.
Jeff Wilson would hold back Gibbs just as long as Dameon Pierce would hold back Bijan.
Gibbs isn’t too far behind Bijan, indeed. In 2022 or 2021, Gibbs would have been the 1.01, hands down. I’m certainly not ruling out that Gibbs will finish the 2023 season a few spots ahead of Bijan. But in terms of talent, Bijan looks a tad more special than Gibbs does. So as of right now, I don’t see myself drafting Gibbs over Bijan, regardless of the landing spot.
Remember 2022: Hall was the #1 prospect, with Ken Walker following not far behind. Hall ended up with the Jets, a not-exciting offense that already had young Michael Carter. Walker went to Seattle, where he was sitting behind Penny, and we all knew it was a matter of weeks before Penny would break down.
I had the 1.01 this past season, and for a moment, considered drafting Walker over Hall. Even offered the 1.02 owner to trade back a spot, if he gave me a 2023 2nd. He rejected the offer (turns out he was after Drake London, and had tried to trade back to the 1.03 himself).
At the end of the day, I went with Hall, who was the superior of 2 great talents. And while he got injured, he certainly outperformed Walker in PPG, 15.4 to 12.9 in half PPR.
So yes, I would still draft Bijan over Gibbs. What I would not do is overspending on trading up to the 1.01 if I already held the 1.02 or 1.03 and had a realistic shot at Gibbs.
This is why I called it a hypothetical. With RB’s falling farther in drafts, it isn’t outside the realm of possibility.
I disagree. Wilson isn’t half the RB that Pierce is.
I am with you on Hall. I managed to grab him in one dynasty league, and I hold him like gold. That kid is special. I just hope he doesn’t turn into another Saquon Barkley injury-fest.
I liked Hall a lot but Etienne a bit more. I considered him a redshirt rookie, same as Jameson this year. Time will tell who is better but I am happy with my choice.
If our draft were today I would take Robinson and Gibbs both to add to him, Swift and Akers. That’s more than I want but I believe the value of Swift and Akers will be going up.
Johnston could make me change my mind or possibly a trade.
I don’t disagree. Still, Pierce wouldn’t stand a chance to hold Bijan back even for a half a game, should the Texans indeed draft him.
Any team that will invest the serious draft capital required to get Bijan will have a plan for him. Teams don’t spend an early 1st on an RB, only to see if maybe he can usurp their 4th round pick from yesteryear at some point. Won’t happen, unless the Texans bring back Bill O’Brien or hire Urban Meyer as their new HC.
Houston will take a QB and I would bet on it.
Philly and Detroit are the intriguing landing spots for Robinson with rumors to go with the idea.
Houston have 2 top 12 picks.
Don’t get me wrong. I was tossing that out as a hypothetical, nothing more. Still, as my Jets example showed, if a player falls far enough, he is likely to get taken by anyone.
I wouldn’t be shocked if Houston drafted Bijan. Not the most likely option, but certainly not impossible.
Posted this list of potential suitors in another forum recently:
1.01 - Chicago: unlikely, they need to improve their D
1.02 - Houston: nope, will draft a QB
1.03 - Arizona: possible, they need an RB (but also a replacement for JJ Watt)
1.04 - Indianapolis: nope, they got JT and will draft a QB
1.05 - Seattle: unlikely, they have Walker and need a QB
1.06 - Detroit: possible, if they want to move on from the oft-injured Swift
1.07 - Las Vegas: possible, if they don’t tag Josh Jacobs
1.08 - Atlanta: rather unlikely, they need to improve their D
1.09 - Carolina: possible, as a CMC successor, but I see them going QB
1.10 - Philadelphia: will probably go D, but with Bijan, that offense would be unstoppable
1.11 - Tennessee: possible, as a Henry successor
1.12 - Houston: possible, if he’s still there
1.13 - NY Jets: nope, they have Breece Hall
1.14 - New England: unlikely they will trade back as they always do
1.15 - Green Bay: possible, as a successor for Aaron Jones
1.16 - Washington: unlikely, they have Brian Robinson and need to improve their D
1.17 - Pittsburgh: nope, they have Najee Harris
1.18 - Detroit: might be tempted, if they passed on him at 1.06 and he’s still there now
Looking at that list, I predict Robinson falls to the end of the first round or early 2nd round. Considering how far Breece Hall fell last year, it seems NFL teams just aren’t inclined to draft RB’s in the 1st round any more.
For example, look at Najee Harris. He gets plenty of yards after contact, but that awful Pittsburgh o-line leaves him getting contact in the backfield. Offensive line is more important than RB’s nowadays, no matter how good. An RB would have to be a Barry Sanders-style magician to make it in the NFL behind a bad line.
At this time I would guess that Lions, Eagles or Titans take Robinson. All would be great landing spots.
I’d be shocked if that happened. Bijan draws a lot of comps to Saquon Barkley, who was drafted 2nd overall in a class loaded with talent.
And no, I don’t think the tide has turned entirely. Team needs shift, and not every draft class offers the same depth of talent on all positions (including OL and D).
If I had to bet money, I’d put it on the Cards grabbing Bijan at 1.03. But they are in a full franchise rebuild, including GM and HC, so maybe the new powers-that-be will want to focus on D first.
I can’t see Bijan dropping out of the top 10. Detroit has been known to draft for value, not needs. And even if they don’t, the Eagles will grab him. They have no screaming needs, and adding a generational RB talent would turn their offense into an unstoppable monster.
Let’s be honest: Miles Sanders is no great shakes. If they can get a great RB, I can see them going for it. Bijon behind the Eagles o-line?
Plus, Miles Sanders is a UFA. Right now, the only RB the Eagles have under contract for 2023 is Kenny Gainwell.
Did I say they have no team needs? They have one: the RB position.
I don’t expect Bijan to last until the 10th spot. But that could well mean that 2 RBs will come off the board in the top 10 this year.
If Breece Hall can’t make it to the 1st round, I’m not sure any RB can. He looked like the real deal coming out of college, and he didn’t disappoint at the pro level.