Texas RB Bijan Robinson reacts to Cowboys mock draft with a smile
By Jerry Trotta
Running back is no longer a premier position in the NFL, but it’s outlook is currently engulfing the Dallas Cowboys organization with the futures of Ezekiel Elliott, a potential cap casualty, and Tony Pollard, a free agent coming off ankle surgery and a broken fibula, up in the air.
The discourse was only exasperated by Mel Kiper’s first mock draft for ESPN. The draft is still three months away, but Kiper added to the RB speculation by mocking Texas running back Bijan Robinson to Dallas at pick No. 26 overall.
The 2023 running back class isn’t deep by any stretch of the imagination, but there’s a handful of intriguing prospects. That said, Robinson is far and away the cream of this year’s crop. Most analyst project him as an instant superstar; akin to Jets rookie Breece Hall before he suffered a torn ACL in Week 7.
In many ways, Robinson is a perfect fit for the Cowboys.
We’ll get into the pros and cons of drafting a running back early (again) in a minute, but the idea of Robinson staying in the state of Texas to star for the Cowboys is mouthwatering. You couldn’t script a better story for Robinson.
Judging by his reaction to Kiper’s mock, Robinson would be pretty stoked to be drafted by Dallas.
Texas RB Bijan Robinson reacts to being selected by the Cowboys in ESPN’s Mel Kiper’s mock draft.
Robinson’s answer just speaks to his maturity, which suggests he’s going to dominate the interview process leading up to the draft. That shouldn’t worry the Cowboys, however. While Robinson’s stock will only rise between now and the draft — assuming he doesn’t flop at the combine and his pro day — it’s unlikely a team reaches on a running back before Dallas’ turn to pick at No. 26 overall.
The idea of taking a running back in the first round is panned throughout the league. Not only can teams find capable RBs in the middle-to-late rounds of the draft, but the undrafted free agent pool has been friendly to the position.
Like Elliott, though, Robinson would be a slam dunk pick. He’s a true blue-chip prospect with the ability to carry an offense. Don’t let Elliott’s 2021 and 2022 allow you to forget how dominant he was early in his career.
In 2022, Robinson led the Big 12 in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. He also led the country with 1,894 scrimmage yards, and finished second in total touchdowns. A number of elite running backs have passed through the Longhorns’ football program, and Robinson finished his career fourth in Texas history in rushing yards and tied for sixth in rushing touchdowns in just three years.
Again, a lot can happen between now and the draft, but the Cowboys are easy to read when it comes to drafting players they love, and they’re seemingly head over heels for Robinson. And judging by Robinson’s laugh-and-smile reaction, it’s not a reach to say he’d love to be donning a star on his helmet in three months time.