The Detroit Lions should take a big swing on Bijan Robinson in the draft
By Zach Payne
It would be a bold move, but here’s why the Detroit Lions should take a big swing on Texas running back Bijan Robinson in the draft.
Following an exciting 9-8 season that saw the Detroit Lions fall just short of a playoff berth, all eyes are on general manager Brad Holmes and how he will tackle an offseason that’s vital to the long-term outlook of the franchise.
With aspirations for next season clearly set on winning the division and making the playoffs, Detroit is hoping this year will be the last time for a while they hold so many top picks in the draft. Meaning, it is even more critical to find elite talent to bring into the organization as the Lions solidify their foundation.
There are plenty of intriguing prospects, but as of late Lions fans have been fixated on one name: Texas running back Bijan Robinson.
The clear-cut top back in the 2023 draft, Robinson is the best running back prospect since Saquon Barkley. Some say Robinson is even a top-five player in the draft, and that no one would raise an eyebrow if he were to be selected in the top 10.
It is not difficult to see the appeal, Robinson is as elusive a runner as there is. Mixed with his incredible balance, he was the toughest player to bring down in college football this past year.
It seems futile to question whether or not Robinson will translate well to the NFL level. He certainly feels about as close to a sure thing as there is in this draft. The question that remains is whether he would fit the Detroit Lions’ plans for the future.
Why the Lions should take a big swing on Bijan Robinson
There is no question Robinson would fit the Lions’ offense. Everyone expects Jamaal Williams to be back, but nobody is expecting a repeat of the 1,000-yard, 17-touchdown season he just had. And D’Andre Swift, while an incredibly exciting player, has not taken the step many anticipated he would over the last two seasons. With his rookie deal nearing its end, the Lions will need to find a new young lead back in the very near future.
Robinson has a chance to not just be the lead back, but be one of the top two or three backs in the league–perhaps right away even. Behind an offensive line that is amongst the best in the league, especially in run blocking, it would be a lethal combination.
The biggest argument against drafting Robinson though is the capital it would take to do so. The sixth overall pick is too rich, even considering his talent. However, the Lions would not be able to pass on him twice and still come away with the former Longhorns superstar, which means they’d need use the 18th pick to select him. If he’s stil there, and there’s a chance he won’t be.
Considering how much less valuable running backs are in the modern NFL, that’s a very rich price to pay. This running back class is also deep, even with Robinson as the obvious top dog. Furthermore, it’s well documented that the Lions have more pressing needs to fill.
Passing on a potentially elite corner or defensive lineman for a luxury pick in the top-20 is certainly not something Holmes and company could do without thinking things through very thoroughly.
But Robinson is the kind of prospect that can alter plans and perceptions, and the Lions should not be afraid to take a big swing on him if it’s on the table.