Should the Eagles be all-in on Bijan Robinson or is Howie’s blueprint still working?

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AUSTIN, TX – NOVEMBER 25: Texas running back Bijan Robinson (5) scores a touchdown during the game against the Baylor Bears on November 25, 2022, at Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, TX. (Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire)

After Bijan Robinson flew to Philadelphia for a pre-draft meeting, it’s clear that the Eagles are intent on doing their homework. But will Robinson’s game be enough to sway Howie Roseman off of his perch?

Eagles in a strong position going into the NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is rapidly approaching and all eyes are once again fixed on the City of Brotherly Love. After their impressive run to the Super Bowl, the Philadelphia Eagles were handed the 31st pick in the NFL Draft, but it’s the 10th selection they acquired in a trade with the Saints that carries the most intrigue.

The Eagles find themselves in a favorable spot. There is a lot they can do from the fringe of the top-10, including moving both up and down. If they choose to stick, however, then Bijan Robinson figures to be a logical fit for the team.

Is Bijan Robinson a dream fit for Philly?

With 1,580 yards in his final season and 6.1 yards per carry, Bijan Robinson entered the offseason as the premier back in his class and cemented that status with a 4.46 40-yard dash and some dazzling agility numbers. Robinson would wreak havoc behind this offensive front, and it’s rare to see a back with his power and frame be able to move so elusively. He truly is the best of both worlds and could be the staple of any offense for years to come.

The real value of Bijan Robinson would come from defenses needing to key in on him. The Eagles love running RPO concepts with Jalen Hurts and having a back as stocky as Robinson who is always a threat is only going to further add to the unpredictability of what is already one of the leagues’ most explosive offenses.

The Eagles do have a longer-term need at the position. Sure, it’s not as big as the hole left at Safety or linebacker, but it’s prominent enough to warrant drafting a back to bring some stability to the group. They let Miles Sanders walk into free agency and were able to bring in Rashaad Penny on an incredibly cheap prove-it contract, but there lies the issue.

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 02: Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny (20) runs with the ball during the third quarter of an NFL football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Detroit Lions on October 2, 2022 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire)

Howie Roseman may not be truly sold on drafting a RB in the first round

The Eagles let Sanders sign with the Panthers on a four-year contract worth around $6M per year. That’s more than Howie Roseman has spent on their entire backfield. A rookie contract sounds appealing, but a draft pick is just as valuable to one of the most creative GM’s in the league.

Kenneth Gainwell is the only back (not including Trey Sermon) signed beyond next year and he could absolutely benefit from a running-mate. The downside would be that the arrival of Robinson would all but assume Gainwell will either be reduced to a Boston Scott role after 2023, or potentially even moved on from.

Howie Roseman has not paid a running back significant money since the DeMarco Murray letdown. Every single contract since has either been for pennies, or rookies who also play for pennies under their first deal. Robinson would fit the latter, but then is it really worth spending a first-round pick on someone who is realistically going to be let go within five years tops?

Did the Miles Sanders selection really pan out as expected? Even in his career-year, he regressed into the final few regular season games, giving Gainwell a leg up in the postseason. If every year was like his last, then it would’ve, but one could argue that Boston Scott, Kenny Gainwell, and even Jordan Howard all played roles just as significant prior to 2022. That may be the X-Factor in deciding whether or not Bijan Robinson becomes an Eagle.

It also helps that Philly has a dominant offensive front. I’m pretty sure I could pick up 3 yards of offense on a fluke run behind that group, and with such a reliable base to build around, it takes the strain off of needing an expensive running back.

Look at what Jordan Howard, Jay Ajayi, and LeGarrette Blount, Josh Adams, and even Corey Clement were all acquired for and paid. If you combine all of their salaries, it’s still probably less than what Miles Sanders is earning now. If the Eagles believe they can get a less-complete back, but one that fits their scheme, a little later, then why would they pay a premium for Robinson when the offensive line can part the red sea at a moments notice?

The Eagles are in a position of luxury. 10 might be a tad too high for Bijan Robinson and he will absolutely be off the board by 30. If they could drop down a few spots and snag some ammo for next year, then the move is a no-brainier. But things aren’t always that simple and there are more pressing holes to fill than one which has not been truly valued (financially) by the Eagles since 2015.

Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire