Eagles: PFF has interesting take on potential 2023 first-round draft target

Where would you rank running back among the Philadelphia Eagles’ needs? Probably not very high, right?

Well, that could change next offseason. With Miles Sanders and Boston Scott entering a contract years and no three-down back to succeed him on the current roster, the Eagles could be dipping into the running back market next year.

If Sanders has a career-year in 2022, it still doesn’t guarantee his return. Howie Roseman has often been reluctant to sign backs to long-term deals. The last Eagles back to receive a lucrative long-term deal was LeSean McCoy back in 2012, when the All-Pro runner signed a five-year, $45 million extension. I like Sanders, but he’s not on the same level as Shady. Not even close.

If the Eagles stick to their team building philosophy, they probably won’t spend big money in free agency or use a first-round pick to fill the vacancy left behind by Sanders if he leaves.

Unlike the past few years, there are several high profile running backs primed to enter next year’s draft. Among them is Texas workhorse Bijan Robinson.

Robinson is the consensus No. 1 back entering the draft next year by every major draft outlet. Pro Football Focus has him ranked 18th on their 2023 big board. Walter Football, NFL Draft Buzz, Sports Illustrated, and The Draft Wire all have Robinson as the No. 1 back in the country.

He’s almost certainly going to be a first-round pick come April ’23.

PFF recently dropped an article where they listed one draft prospect each NFL team should have their eyes on for next year. Robinson was their pick for the Eagles. Here’s their reasoning:

No team created more expected yards for their running backs last year than the Eagles. With Miles Sanders an impending free agent after this season, the Eagles may decide to take advantage of a loaded 2023 running back class. Robinson could add a level of dynamism that takes their running game to another level after breaking 79 tackles in only 10 games last season.”

2023 NFL Draft: One draft prospect each NFL team should be watching

As we’ve seen throughout the past decade or so, selecting a running back high in the first-round as a team building block rarely pans out. If Eagles fail to live up to expectations this year, they’ll steer clear of Robinson in the first-round. If they end up winning the division and winning a playoff game, that changes the outlook.

The Eagles will once again have multiple first-round picks at their disposal next year — their own and the New Orleans Saints’. The common sentiment is that the Eagles will use those picks to trade up for a quarterback if Jalen Hurts doesn’t play well in 2022. Obviously, if Hurts improves as a passer and lead this team to the postseason, they won’t be so eager to pull off that blockbuster trade.

As a luxury pick, Robinson would be a great add for the Eagles. He has a do-it-all skill set that should translate seamlessly to the NFL. In 2021, Robinson finished third in the FBS with 79 broken tackles while having over 60 fewer carries than the two backs ahead of him.

His vision is top notch, his balance and elusiveness are outstanding, he plays with solid power, and his stiff arm is devastating. This play essentially encapsulates everything Robinson brings to an offense.

He’s also a big play machine, as evidenced by this unbelievable run against Oklahoma.

On the year, Robinson accumulated 1,127 rushing yards on 195 attempts (5.8 YPC average) and found the end zone 11 times. Robinson also brings a lot to the table as a receiver, tallying 26 receptions for 295 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air.

If you’re hesitant about taking a running back in the first-round of the draft, I don’t blame you. But you should be excited about the idea of adding this kind of talent to the Eagles offense.

I’m with PFF on this one. If everything plays out according to plan and the Eagles have the luxury of adding a back with one of their first-round picks next year, sign me up for Bijan Robinson.

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