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Snap grades for the Bijan Robinson pick

Tell us what you think about these grades in the comments!

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2023 NFL Draft - Round 1 Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Sportswriters are split on how to evaluate the Falcons’ decision to take a running back in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Now, that’s primarily because of the devaluing of the running back position and has little to do with the player himself. But the grades for Atlanta’s selection at No. 8 are all over the place.

Check out the grades below, and let us know what you think n the comments.

JP Acosta, SB Nation: B

I get it, I understand the value of drafting a RB in the first round, let alone the top 10, is a major risk. However, Bijan Robinson is a special back. His agility and explosiveness make him a threat every time he touches the ball, and he’s also a very good receiver. Tyler Allgeier is a fine back, but with Robinson he can be the Robin to Bijan’s Batman once Cordarrelle Patterson leaves. Arthur Smith was the offensive coordinator in Tennessee with Derrick Henry, and having a bellcow back is paramount. The only reason this isn’t an A is because CB Christian Gonzalez was still on the board, and despite trading for Jeff Okudah, Gonzalez and AJ Terrell would’ve been a feisty CB duo.

Charles McDonald, Yahoo! Sports: C

Robinson is an excellent player and will make the Falcons’ roster better, but they had some more pressing needs that could have been taken care of this year. The Falcons are almost the test case for why running backs aren’t necessary at this point in the draft with Tyler Allgeier being one of the top backs in the league last year, but there is no debating Robinson’s talent as an elite player.

Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report: B

Robinson is a dynamic runner and a skilled receiver who should be viewed more as a weapon than just a running back.

The Atlanta Falcons aren’t afraid to go against the grain.

Two years ago, the franchise made Kyle Pitts the highest-drafted tight end of all time. Last year, Drake London heard his name called with the eighth overall pick. Now, Robinson is added to the mix.

The trio gives the Falcons legitimate weapons for Desmond Ridder, though questions need to be raised as to why the team passed on a quarterback yet again.

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: D

This is way too high for a back, even if he’s a really good player. Backs don’t decide Super Bowls. I know Arthur Smith loves backs, but this is a deep draft of backs and history isn’t kind to this type of move. I don’t like it because of position value. Good player, bad position.

Scott Dochterman, The Athletic: D+

Robinson (5-11, 215) stood out as the complete package of a running back. He had 45 plays of 20-plus yards in three seasons and blends power with speed, footwork and elusiveness unlike any first-round running back since Saquon Barkley. Perhaps the best comparison for Robinson is Hall of Famer Edgerrin James.

A unanimous first-team All-American at Texas, Robinson rushed for 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging 6.1 yards per carry. He also caught 19 passes for 314 yards. His 4.46 40 time solidified his speed for scouts to go along with his obvious power.

It’s an exciting pick, and Atlanta could be fun on offense, but there were multiple defenders available who could have helped this team improve right away.

Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network: B+

Who says running backs don’t matter? The position makes a stylish return back to the top 10, with the Atlanta Falcons’ selection of Bijan Robinson. For a team that still has needs remaining at positions like offensive line, cornerback, and edge rusher, there is a positional value counter-argument to make here. But Robinson is a truly uncommon RB prospect.

At 5’11”, 215 pounds, Robinson has the size, physicality, and contact balance to be a workhorse at the NFL level. But he also has hyper-elite control in tight spaces, with his combined short-area athleticism, flexibility, processing ability, and creative instincts. He can put defenders on a string before driving through tackles, and he’s also a high-level receiving threat.

As good as Robinson is, it’s fair to wonder if the Falcons needed to pick an RB this high after getting a 1,000-yard season out of a Day 3 rookie last year in Tyler Allgeier. But the roster is looking better after free agency, and Robinson is a truly elite RB — a top-flight NFL runner out of the gate, and he takes a lot of pressure off Desmond Ridder.

Falcons fans’ grades:

Check back later today for our Reacts survey results with Falcons fans’ composite draft grade for Robinson, and stick with us tonight as we cover all of the twists and turns of Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft.