NFL Draft grades: Atlanta Falcons' class could soar depending on Bijan Robinson

·2 min read
Was Bijan Robinson worth the No. 8 overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons? Who knows. If you've seen him play, you know why they took the chance. (AP Photo/Ben Gray)
Was Bijan Robinson worth the No. 8 overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons? Who knows. If you've seen him play, you know why they took the chance. (AP Photo/Ben Gray)

Overall Atlanta Falcons grade: B-

Bijan Robinson is the jewel of this draft and will make the Falcons’ offense even more difficult to defend than it was last year. The value of the pick is shaky, but Robinson’s talent and dominance as a player is not in question. Getting Syracuse's Matthew Bergeron at the top of the second round will help fortify the offensive line for the foreseeable future (and he can even play left tackle in the post-Jake Matthews world). Ohio State's Zach Harrison adds quality depth along the defensive line and Utah's Clark Phillips will compete for a starting spot at corner as a rookie.

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Favorite pick: Clark Phillips, CB, Utah (113th overall)

The Falcons don’t really do defense. They haven’t played consistent defense since Michael Vick was the quarterback, but players like Phillips can at least give them an edge in playmaking and ball skills, something the Falcons have severely lacked from their cornerback room for the better part of the last 15 years. The Falcons have a young, intriguing cornerback situation with Phillips joining A.J. Terrell and Jeff Okudah. It’s the most promising situation they’ve had at cornerback in a few years.

Least favorite pick: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas (8th overall)

This pick has nothing to do with Robinson's talent. He is electric. One of those rare running back prospects that’s a consensus first-rounder and so good it’s worth bucking the trend of waiting until the later portions of the draft. However, if there was any team that didn’t really need to make this pick, it’s the Falcons. Head coach Arthur Smith engineered one of the top running games in the league last year without elite talent and could have produced similar results again. Robinson will certainly thrive in this offense and has a fast track towards superstardom in Atlanta, but the Falcons might have had the nucleus and brain trust to produce a top-tier running game without a top-tier running back.

That said, have you seen Bijan Robinson play? Even talking about the value of the pick feels a bit sacrilegious considering he’s one of the most talented college football players of all time.

Full Falcons draft

Texas RB Bijan Robinson (R1, 8th overall)

Syracuse OG Matthew Bergeron (R2, 38th)

Ohio State DE Zach Harrison (R3, 75th)

Utah CB Clark Phillips III (R4, 113th)

Alabama S DeMarcco Hellams (R7, 224)

South Carolina C Jovaughn Gwyn (R7, 225)