Perry: Why Bijan Robinson isn't right player for Patriots in first round


The New England Patriots have several different roster weaknesses that they need to consider addressing with the No. 14 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but running back isn't one of them.

Which is why it was interesting that The Athletic's Jeff Howe wrote Wednesday that the Patriots "have quietly shown interest in adding another blue-chip back in the draft." 

He followed up on that story with the following tweet:

Bijan Robinson was the best running back in college football last season. The University of Texas star racked up 1,580 yards (6.1 per carry) and 18 touchdowns on the ground, in addition to 19 receptions for 314 yards and two touchdowns as a pass-catcher. The 2022 Doak Walker Award winner is an elite playmaker with excellent speed and strength.

Should the Patriots really consider drafting Robinson if he's available at No. 14?

Our Patriots insider Phil Perry isn't thrilled with that idea.

"Bijan Robinson might be the best running back to enter the draft since Saquon Barkley," Perry said Thursday on NBC Sports Boston's "Arbella Early Edition with Trenni." "He might be better than Saquon Barkley. ... He's not the right player in the first round for a team like the Patriots.

"If it was 2018 and the Patriots were in the market for a first-round running back like they were, and they drafted Sony Michel because they were a couple pieces away from a Super Bowl, which they eventually won, then go for it. But this team needs an offensive tackle, cornerback, a wide receiver -- some of the most expensive positions in the sport, and you're talking about draft a running back who, again, might be great, but you know how far you have to go back to find a Super Bowl-winning team where its best two offensive players were running backs? 1973. The league has changed a bit since Mercury Morris and Larry Csonka were in the backfield for the Miami Dolphins. That's what the Patriots would have in Rhamondre Stevenson and Bijan Robinson. Congratulations, you'd have your two-best players be running backs."

Not many recent Super Bowl winners had a top five running back. In fact, the last team with a top-five running back to win the Lombardi Trophy was the Seattle Seahawks with Marshawn Lynch in 2013. 

This specific Patriots roster needs way more help at other premium positions to justify taking a running back in Round 1, even if Robinson is available. The Patriots' talent level and depth at running back is actually pretty good with Stevenson, James Robinson, Pierre Strong Jr. and Ty Montgomery leading the group.

Robinson in New England would be so much fun. He's an electric player with the ball in his hands. He just doesn't address the team's most glaring roster needs. 

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