When looking at the Seattle Seahawks roster there are two positions that you can point to and say they do not need reinforcements via early draft picks. The first is offensive tackle, as the team invested first- and third-round picks in Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas a year ago. The second is running back, after John Schneider chose Michigan State star Kenneth Walker lll early in the second-round of the same draft class.
Conventional thinking should all but eliminate running back as an option for the Seahawks on Day 1 or 2 of this year’s NFL Draft. However, Pete Carroll and Schneider have been anything but conventional, so we cannot rule out a back being selected early. University of Texas running back Bijan Robinson is the type of player that causes teams to look past positional value and instead evaluate the player solely. Down below we are going to breakdown what the Longhorns back brings to the table and what makes him so good.
Height - 6 foot - Weight - 220 pounds
- His best attribute as a runner is his excellent (8 on 1-9 scale) contact balance. He is able to bounce off of defenders as if they were not even there without losing his stride, center of gravity or strength.
- When impacted by players near the line he never loses his vision. His eyes do not drop, rather he keeps good awareness to identify where the backers are and where holes might form.
- Robinson has very good (7) vision as he is able to quickly identify holes and hit them even if they are not the designed run gap.
- Robinson runs very light on his toes near the line of scrimmage allowing him to make multiple quick jump cuts in and out of holes when areas get congested. Robinson is a nimble enough runner in tight spaces to where he could make a defender miss in a phone booth.
- Robinson is an extremely patient runner as he will slow it down off of the handoff to let blocks develop in front of him. Additionally, on runs to the outside with lineman in front of him he has the awareness to slow it down and stay behind them rather than rushing out ahead of them.
- When attacking holes Robinson is able to get skinny whilst possessing the strength to break through arm tackles.
- He has very good (7) power as he can punish defenders by getting lower than them and running through them. He also has great leg drive as he is able to continue picking up yards when he has two or more defenders trying to tackle him.
- He seems to get stronger as the game goes on.
- He’s very secure with the football constantly maintaining five points of pressure as well as keeping it high and tight.
- Robinson does have good hands, catching the ball with them out in front rather than trying to catch everything with his body.
- As a pass blocker he has a good understanding that if there is a free blitzer he has to come off of his play action fake to pick them up. Additionally, he knows to take the inside most defenders when there are two free blitzers coming.
- Robinson does need to find some cut back lanes quicker on runs designed to the C gap and wider when the defense overflows to the outside.
- He does lack true breakaway speed as second level defenders are able to eventually catch up to him.
- Robinson does struggle at times with his overall aggressiveness as a runner. There are a few too many instances in which he dances going east-west when he should go north and take what the defense is giving him.
- His struggles in pass protection come when he has to chip a defender or take one on, one on one. His chips are not great as he just tosses his shoulder in rather than trying to strike the defender in the ribs to knock them off of their path.
- When Robinson is taking on a blitzer one-on-one he does not try to gain leverage or block them with any power. Instead, he stays relatively upright and just tries to get in their way rather than trying to stop them on the spot.
- Robinson does run with a high pad level.
Floor/ceiling - Robinson’s high-level elusiveness, power, vision, shiftiness and contact balance gives him the ceiling of being the best running back in the game. However, his questionable pass pro technique, pad level being a little too high and instance on hitting home runs at times gives him the floor of a solid starting running back.
Grade - 7.1 - High end starter first day of second season - High first round
Grade explanation - From a pure talent standpoint, putting aside positional value, I think the three best players in this year’s class are Jalen Carter, Bryce Young, and Robinson. He is the best running back prospect we have seen since Saquon Barkley and assuming he stays healthy it would be surprising if he doesn’t win Offensive Rookie of the Year. I think Robinson will step in and instantaneously be one of the 8 to 10 best running backs in the NFL. He lacks a glaring weakness as and has three excellent traits in his playmaking ability, elusiveness and contact balance.
Schematic fit - Bijan’s best fit is in a zone running scheme where his patience and burst can be utilized. He does have the traits to be more than successful in a man running scheme as well. Robinson can run in both inside and outside schemes as well as being a true weapon in short yardage runs and goal line runs thanks to his power and vision.