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Where will Bijan Robinson land in the draft?

Chris Simms explains to Mike Florio why Bijan Robinson is such a special player in 2023 NFL Draft, why Jahmyr Gibbs has a similar build to Christian McCaffrey and more.

Texas running back Bijan Robinson is widely viewed as one of the best players in the draft. But he’s a running back, and running backs don’t get drafted as high as they once did.

The NFL has come a long way from 2005, when three running backs (Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson, Cadillac Williams) went in the top five. Last year, there were no first-round running backs at all. Since the Giants took Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick in 2018, no running back has been taken higher than 24th (Josh Jacobs in 2019, Najee Harris in 2021).

There are multiple reasons for this. First, the supply of NFL-capable running backs continues to outweigh demand. Good running backs can be found in every round of the draft. They can be found among the undrafted free agents. That makes it hard to justify using a high draft pick on a tailback, unless he’s widely regarded to be an all-time great.

Second, even if the prospect is a no-brainer all-timer, he can still get injured. Like Barkley did. It’s not the player’s fault; it’s inherent to the position. Running backs are constantly in car crashes. They get hit awkwardly. They get hit repeatedly. From any angle. From every angle.

That makes it even harder to roll the dice on a running back with a top-10 pick.

Which brings us back to Robinson. He’ll be a first-rounder. The question is how high he’ll go and, more importantly, where.

The Eagles, who lost Miles Sanders in free agency, at No. 10? The Bucs at No. 19? The Chargers at No. 21? The Vikings at No. 22? The Cowboys at No. 26? The Bills at No. 27? The Bengals at No. 28?

He likely won’t make it out of the top 20, if he makes it out of the top 10. And there’s a chance someone who fully appreciates what he’ll mean to an established offense will trade up to get him. His addition will supercharge a playoff team into a short-list Super Bowl contender.

The balance continues to be who else is available and where they can be secured. Along with the ever-present risk of injury, which is greater for running backs than any other player on offense. And which can make a player look like a bust, even if the injuries are a product of the position.

But Robinson could be great. A soon-to-be superstar. A fantasy-football darling. A guy who, like Barkley, might eventually be approaching his sixth season without the long-term contract he will have earned.