Maybe it’s just due diligence. Maybe it’s being a little greedy. Maybe it’s getting caught up in the potential fireworks he would bring to the Eagles’ offense.
Maybe it’s because the Eagles think the Cowboys are interested.
Whatever, but Texas running back Bijan Robinson was in Philadelphia on Monday night for a pre-draft meeting with the Eagles. In fact, Robinson posted a photo on Instagram showing an airplane in a landing pattern over the Linc.
All NFL teams bring in potential draft choices. It’s common practice. Chatting up Robinson is one thing. Getting to know him? Fine.
Drafting him? No, no, no, no, no.
Robinson is a top-five talent. He is the unanimous choice as the top running back available in next month’s draft. Since 1980, 28 of 210 top-five picks have been running backs. The last running back to be drafted No. 1 is Penn State’s Ki-Jana Carter, to the Bengals in 1995.
Stardom seems to be Robinson’s destiny. He is a powerful runner with speed and strength. He is known for his ability to break tackles but, of course, that’s a little easier in the Big 12 than the NFL.
Robinson played three seasons at Texas. He gained 3,410 yards, scored 33 touchdowns and averaged 6.3 yards per carry. He also had 60 catches for 805 yards and eight touchdowns.
Robinson won the 2022 Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back and finished fourth in Longhorns history for rushing yards.
Nobody is a sure thing when they step into the NFL. Carter was injured on his third carry as a rookie in preseason, was frequently injured in his career and finished with 1,144 yards.
Robinson will be a first-round pick. He won’t be around when the Eagles pick at No. 30. He is expected to immediately turn around a team’s running attack. The Eagles know it and 31 other teams know it.
TWO TOP PICKS
Howie Roseman has two first-round picks, 10th and 30th. But he has more than two first-round holes in his lineup.
Roseman has never picked a running back in the first round. The highest he has selected a running back was Miles Sanders, the 53rd overall pick in 2019.
Well, Sanders left for the Panthers in free agency. The Eagles did sign Rashaad Penny to a one-year deal. They have improving and intriguing Kenny Gainwell. They re-signed Boston Scott. Their running back room is solid, especially if Penny stays healthy.
But the big prize is out there and the Eagles have the draft currency to land him. Several mock drafts have Robinson going to the Eagles at No. 10.
If I’m Roseman, this is what I do: I stop watching video, stop calling scouts and stop reading reports about Mr. Robinson.
No doubt, Robinson would be a great fit with the Eagles. I’m sure he would make the league’s third-ranked offense and fifth-ranked rushing offense even better.
Maybe even unstoppable.
Here’s the problem. The Eagles have far greater and immediate needs, plus some long-term needs.
Your safety position is, uh, unsettled. C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps left in free agency. They played 1,825 high-quality snaps between them. Who’s replacing that?
Reed Blankenship showed promise but you don’t know if he is a Super Bowl-quality safety. And, he’s the best one you have. Among Blankenship, K’Von Wallace and Andre Chachere, they played 465 snaps.
You want Robinson, but you need a safety.
Your cornerbacks will be 30 by opening day. This position tends to age slowly, then all at once. Newly acquired Greedy Williams should help.
Two of your linebackers walked away. Historically, the Roseman-regime Eagles haven’t invested in linebackers. Not until 2022 at least, when they signed edge/linebacker Haason Reddick, drafted Nakobe Dean in the third round and signed free agent Kyzir White.
Signal-caller T.J. Edwards was a stable force in the middle, leading the team in tackles and strong on pass coverage.
We’re not suggesting this is cause and effect — there are many factors in how a defense performs — but with these quality linebackers in 2022, the Eagles had the NFL’s second-ranked defense and was ranked first against the pass. And, the Eagles led the NFL in sacks and Reddick was second with 16 sacks.
Your defensive line is aging in spots. Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox, two veteran leaders, are on one-year deals. These might be their final NFL contracts.
Two of your offensive linemen probably will be gone in two years. Jason Kelce said he almost retired after the 2021 season. Think he’ll be back for 2024? Maybe. Lane Johnson said he wants to play two more years.
Imagining Robinson in a backfield with Jalen Hurts and cooking in an offense with A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert is exhilarating but not sensible.
Stop daydreaming. Take a pass. Be disciplined. Hope the Cowboys don’t draft him.