Bijan Robinson is arguably the most polarizing first-round prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. There is no denying that Robinson is freakishly talented and is by far the best running back in this class. However, running backs have never been worth less in the NFL and as a result, his draft stock is slipping. Chargers fans are hoping it slips enough where he falls to pick 21.
If Robinson came into the league 10 years ago he would have been a consensus top-10 pick. If he would have came into the league 20 years ago he would have been a consensus top-20 pick. Instead, he will naturally be one of the most talented players in the draft that continues to fall as the night goes on.
But can he fall far enough to the Bolts at pick 21? That would be a dream for many Chargers fans, especially with the ongoing Austin Ekeler trade drama. Even if Ekeler stays for one more year, Robinson would be one half of a dynamic duo and would be the starter for years to come.
Anything is possible, but is Robinson falling to 21 probable? Let's break down what the experts think.
Bijan Robinson draft projection:
ESPN's Mike Tannenbaum, who previously served as an NFL executive for several teams, mocked Robinson to be drafted with the 19th overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Will Brinson of CBS Sports mocks Robinson to the Seahawks with pick 20 while Diante Lee and Nate Tice of The Athletic have Robinson falling all the way to the Cincinnati Bengals with pick 28.
But then there is Keith Sanchez of The Draft Network, who has Robinson going ninth overall to the Chicago Bears. Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus has him going 16th to the Washington Commanders.
Robinson ranks 11th on the consensus big board, which takes into account all big boards and mock drafts from across the NFL media landscape to come up with a consensus ranking.
But as the mock drafts show, it is really hard to pinpoint exactly where Robinson is going to fall. He is the 11th-ranked prospect on the consensus big board but because of how polarized the running back position is, respected pundits have him going anywhere from ninth to 28th. That is a massive range.
Most likely teams to draft Bijan Robinson before the Chargers are on the clock:
Instead of trying to predict an exact number where Robinson would fall, perhaps it is better for Chargers fans to instead look at which teams are the most likely to draft Robinson before pick 20. If he continues to slip past these teams then the odds of him falling to the Bolts will increase.
Philadelphia Eagles, 10th overall
The Eagles have two picks in the first round and with Miles Sanders leaving in free agency, the team may look to bring in a dynamic runner like Robinson. Philly did sign Rashaad Penny and the team still has depth but Penny has injury concerns and nobody on the roster is as dynamic as Robinson.
GM Howie Roseman has proven in the past that he is not scared to pick who he views is the best player, even if the "position value" doesn't line up with the draft slot. He did so last year with Jordan Davis.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 19th overall
The Buccaneers are going through an overhaul this season and the running back position definitely is a need. Tampa Bay could look to be a run-first team in 2023 that relies on killing game clock with a strong defense. Robinson would certainly help that cause.
Bigger needs could convince the Bucs to go in another direction in the 2023 NFL Draft but Robinson may also be too good for them to pass on.
Outside of those two teams, quite frankly, there are not many teams that have running back as a pressing need. Sure, a team like the Commanders or Bears might sell themselves on Robinson because he is so talented but both of those teams already have running backs.
Maybe Seattle is a threat at pick 20 because they already have the fifth pick in the draft and might go best player available at 20 but they also already have Kenneth Walker.
Regardless, as great as Robinson is, there are not many teams ahead of the Chargers that seem like surefire fits. Robinson's draft projection is one of the hardest in the entire sport to gauge and is all over the place but there seems to be at least a 50/50 chance that he falls to the Bolts.