The positional value of running backs in the NFL draft may have fallen in recent years, but that's unlikely to stop Texas star Bijan Robinson from being a Day 1 selection.
Robinson announced Monday he's entering the 2023 NFL draft and skipping the Longhorns' Alamo Bowl matchup against No. 12 Washington on Dec. 29.
Robinson is as sure a thing as you'll get out of the backfield this spring, and he should provide immediate help to whatever team takes him.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rank last in rushing yards per game (74.3) and yards per carry (3.3). Leonard Fournette is only one year into his three-year, $21 million contract, though, and the Bucs used third-round picks on Rachaad White and Ke'Shawn Vaughn in 2022 and 2020, respectively.
Even if it means getting an upgrade, would Tampa Bay be willing to use a first-round selection on Robinson?
The Miami Dolphins, on the other hand, have all four of their running backs (Salvon Ahmed, Myles Gaskin, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr.) hitting free agency in 2023. Targeting Robinson would fill an immediate need and give Miami a cost-effective solution that frees up some salary cap space for the rest of the offense.
There's only one small problem. The Dolphins forfeited their 2023 first-rounder following a tampering investigation, and they dealt the first-round pick they got from the San Francisco 49ers as part of the Bradley Chubb trade.
Absent moving back into the first round, Miami might not have a path to landing Robinson.
Using a first-round pick on Clyde Edwards-Helaire hasn't worked out for the Kansas City Chiefs so far. Edwards-Helaire ran for 302 yards and three touchdowns before losing his starting job and landing on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain.
It's difficult to see the former LSU star coming back from this, so the Chiefs might be looking for a long-term replacement. Robinson would offer just that if he's still available when Kansas City is on the board.
One team could catapult to the top of the list of Robinson's best suitors: the New York Giants.
Saquon Barkley is on a path to his second Pro Bowl with 1,464 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns in 14 games. Re-signing the 25-year-old could nevertheless be a tricky proposition depending on what kind of demands he'll have.
The Giants saw the limits even an elite running back can have on wins and losses when they posted nine combined victories through Barkley's first two years. Letting him walk will be the more sensible decision if push comes to shove.
In Robinson, New York could have a ready-made replacement in the event it lets Barkley walk as a free agent.