Bijan Robinson is considered the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson and is expected to be a lock within the first round. With the devaluation of the running back in the last decade, many may think that Robinson’s value won’t match what is expected of a high-priced first-round pick.
The Eagles are in the perfect spot to land Bijan Robinson
For the Philadelphia Eagles, their plans with two first-round picks in a couple of weeks will allow them to grab the best available player. Many analysts and scouts believe that means Philadelphia might be inclined to draft Robinson with one of those two picks.
But while Bijan Robinson is certainly one of the best college running backs in recent history, he may not be the Texas running back that fits what the Eagles do best.
Roschon Johnson has just under 400 career touches at Texas while being the primary backup to Bijan Robinson. Still, the power back is considered a violent runner who doesn’t have a penchant for fumbling even with Texas’ downhill approach.
That makes Johnson’s value even potentially higher should Philadelphia wait to later him later in the draft.
With Kenneth Gainwell, Rashaad Penny, and Boston Scott already on the roster, the need for a power back is certainly there for short-yardage situations. Johnson may not have had as many carries, but he’s the kind of runner that would fit very well with Jeff Stoutland’s top offensive line. Johnson has over 150 less carries than Robinson so that means there is less tread on his tires as well.
As seen with several running backs during this era, once a back gets hit too many times, his effectiveness is quickly gone.
Now, this isn’t to say that Johnson is a better running back than Robinson. Johnson’s pass-blocking and receiving skills need to be improved drastically. As an overall prospect, Robinson is better at many key facets.
But in the long-run, the Eagles could get a more violent runner who fits with their system just as well as the top prospect.
Like Michael Turner backing up LaDanian Tomlinson in San Diego, just because a power back isn’t as good as the starter, doesn’t mean he can’t be effective. Turner had multiple pro-bowl seasons in Atlanta after leaving the Chargers, and Tomlinson’s shadows.
The Eagles would get a hungry player in Johnson that is ready to prove he can carry the load on offense outside of his original starter.
Bijan Robinson would be the obvious top choice at running back this year in April’s draft, but Roschon Johnson might bring the better value for Philly.