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    Eagles NFL Draft: Philadelphia Does Not Have the ‘Luxury’ To Select Bijan Robinson at No. 10 Overall

    Fresh off a trip to the Super Bowl, do the Philadelphia Eagles have the luxury to draft Texas RB Bijan Robinson with the No. 10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft?

    The NFC champions in 2022, the Philadelphia Eagles are just a few weeks away from adding the next batch of talent to what is quickly becoming one of the NFL’s most talented rosters. As the final tweaks to the draft board are made, should GM Howie Roseman and the Eagles select Texas RB Bijan Robinson with the No. 10 selection of the 2023 NFL Draft?

    Bijan Robinson Could Push the Eagles Over the Top in the NFC

    Last season, the Jalen Hurts-led Eagles offense was one of the most prolific groups in the league and one of the best in team history. With a league-best 14-3 record, Philly enters the NFL Draft not needing to rebuild but upgrade where possible.

    In 2022, the Eagles ranked third in points per game (28.1) and yards per game (389.1). They were fifth in rushing yards per game (147.6), ninth in passing yards (256.7), and had the second-highest percentage of drives ending in a touchdown (30.6%).

    Hurts took a significant step forward as a passer, throwing for 3,701 yards, 22 touchdowns, and just six interceptions. On the ground, he was nearly as good as it gets, rushing for 760 yards with an additional 13 scores. But he was not the only Eagles rusher that had success. Running back Miles Sanders recorded a career-best season with 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns, both setting new high watermarks.

    However, Sanders joined the Carolina Panthers during free agency, thus creating a potential vacancy in the starting lineup. Not only did they opt to re-sign Boston Scott, but Philadelphia signed former Seattle Seahawks first-rounder Rashaad Penny.

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    When healthy, Penny has shown to be one of the better rushers in the NFL. When he has received 12 or more carries in his career (10 games), Penny has generated seven 100+ yard outings with a low of 60, coming back in Week 1 of 2022 against Denver. On average, he posted 122 rushing yards on 16.5 carries with 1.1 touchdowns behind a far weaker Seattle offensive line.

    If he can put his injury troubles in the past, Penny, along with Scott and Kenneth Gainwell, should be able to keep the Eagles’ offense firing on all cylinders. Plus, for as long as Roseman has been with the franchise, this has been an offense that operates under a committee approach at RB.

    However, Bijan Robinson is unique and would significantly upgrade the current roster. ESPN’s Matt Miller reported that “running back comes up a lot when talking to both team and league sources about the Eagles’ draft plans.”

    For all the praise placed on Robinson’s shoulders over the last three years, it still might not do him justice. Talent alone, Robinson is a top-five player in this class. He is the best rusher to enter the draft since Saquon Barkley and produced 1,580 rushing yards (6.1 average) with 18 touchdowns in addition to 19 receptions for 314 yards (16.5 average) and two more scores at the University of Texas last season.

    Every metric for Robinson screams he would be a perfect fit for the Eagles. Unfortunately, that same level of success could be what keeps him from joining the team.

    History Suggests Howie Roseman Won’t Make a Move for Robinson at No. 10

    “We’re pretty set in how we believe we should build this team, and we’re going to be committed to that until something shows us that there’s a different way,” Roseman said in 2019.

    Roseman deserves full credit for not just the moves which have placed the team in this situation over the years but also the Eagles even being in this conversation. Typically, when you come off of a Super Bowl appearance, players of Robinson’s skill set aren’t in your range.

    Yet, Philly has the luxury of holding not only their draft pick at No. 30 but also the No. 10 pick from their trade with the New Orleans Saints last year when they secured a 2023 first and a 2024 second-round pick as part of a package deal that gave the Saints two first rounders in 2022.

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    Luxury is the operative word. Many have suggested the Eagles should simply take the best player available at No. 10, which, in this instance, would likely be Robinson.

    But the Eagles’ top 30 visits and their history speak otherwise. Of the 16 pre-draft visits to date, Robinson is the only offensive skill player. In fact, only CBs Joey Porter Jr. (Penn State), Keelee Ringo (Georgia), and Emmanuel Forbes (Mississippi State) were players who visited but did not play on the offensive or defensive line, which gives a clear indication in which direction the Eagles are looking.

    There is also a historical precedent to consider. The franchise hasn’t drafted a running back in the first round since 1986 (Keith Byars), and 1979 was the last time they took a linebacker in the first round (Jerry Robinson).

    The Eagles have drafted running backs in the second round since, most recently, Sanders, in 2019. But it is not their modus operandi or what the NFL tends to do either, as only five running backs have been selected in the first 10 selections over the last 10 years. Granted, it is a who’s who list of Saquon Barkley, Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, and Todd Gurley, but as shown, draft capital does not represent availability.

    Philadelphia Doesn’t Have the ‘Luxury’ To Select Robinson at No. 10 Overall

    From a selfish standpoint, I would enjoy watching the Eagles’ offense with Robinson and Hurts in the backfield. It would be as dynamic as it gets but likely not the best use of the selection.

    “For Bijan, it’s not a matter of we don’t value running backs at all,” ESPN Draft Analyst Mel Kiper Jr. recently stated. “It’s first-round running backs you don’t because you don’t need to draft one in the first round. They usually drop anyway. Most teams have a pretty good stable of running backs. That is why it’s hard to really find a place for Bijan because most teams already have a pretty good group of running backs.”

    While not the move which would put fans in their seats, prioritizing the offensive line or cornerback makes far more sense. Although Jason Kelce is back for another season, he’s mulled over retirement, as has Lane Johnson. Thus, the future of the offensive line needs to be considered.

    Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski’s versatility would help keep the offensive line a strength for years to come. Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness is also a fantastic option to consider for the defensive end role, as Brandon Graham is in the twilight of his career. There, he’d serve as a long-term option alongside Josh Sweat and Haason Reddick.

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    Now, if Robinson is still available at pick No. 30, I would be all-in, as I think the Eagles would be. Yet, I would also be surprised if Robinson was not previously selected, as he is more likely to come off the board by pick No. 20, let alone still be there at 30.

    Additionally, this is a very deep running back class. Philadelphia could easily wait and grab Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs, who has been compared to New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara, or Zach Charbonnet from UCLA, who could be this year’s Kenneth Walker III. Even Roschon Johnson in late Round 2 or Round 3 could be an even better value than Robinson if the Eagles really want to make sure they walk out of the draft with a Longhorn.

    While some fans might feel this is taking the safe approach, Philly must be cognizant of their selections. Although they have three of the top 62 picks, plus their own third-rounder (No. 94), Philadelphia will not pick again until the seventh round at No. 219.

    What initially looked to be a luxury is likely the most essential selection the Eagles will make during the 2023 NFL Draft. Roseman knows this, and I do not believe that Roger Goodell will say Bijan Robinson’s name when he reads the name on the card. After all, no one in the NFC has likely shown Roseman and Co. “there’s a different way” to climb the proverbial ladder to the top.

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