Texas’ Bijan Robinson says versatility creates ‘great value’

INDIANAPOLIS — Texas running back Bijan Robinson knows the math might be against him, but he said there should be no hesitation in picking him early in the first round of the upcoming NFL draft.

Robinson, who won the Doak Walker Award for the nation’s top running back, said if that makes league decision-makers feel better, they should just call him a player who “can create disagreements all over the field,” even if it means to undress him on wide receiver.

“First of all, I feel like if you’re a guy who can do all three on your offense, I think that’s a very special quality for a player,” Robinson said at the NFL Scouting Combine on Saturday. “You hem a player up at the receiver, at the slot, or of course when running back. Just being able to create imbalances across the field and being able to create space for yourself… that’s a high value that everyone should look to.”

Robinson, a unanimous All-America selection in 2022, ranks fourth in Longhorns history with 3,410 rushing yards, including 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. He also led the nation’s running backs in broken tackles.

He is ranked No. 6 overall in the draft by ESPN NFL draft insider Mel Kiper Jr.

Robinson said he hopes he can match the New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley, who many have compared him to. Barkley was the 2nd overall pick in the 2018 draft — the highest pick for a running back since Reggie Bush was picked for the 2nd pick in 2006.

Many league hiring managers feel it is unwise to draft a running back in the top half of the first half of the season.

“I don’t want to say it’s unfair. … You just never know where you’re going to go that day,” Robinson said. “It’s important for me to keep enjoying the moment. We might come to draft day and a surprise might happen. You just never know.”

Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr., the No. 1 consensus on ESPN analysts, said at the combine earlier this week that Robinson is the best opposing player he’s faced in his career.

“I appreciate that he said that,” Robinson said. “It’s cool to have someone like that in your corner. … I just feel the greatness that I have and the things that I can do on the field, whether it’s pass catching, lining up at the receiver, lining up at the slot. Just stand up anywhere you need me; If you can run routes, and the next game, line up and run between tackles.

When asked about his own assessment of his play, Robinson cited the name Barry Sanders of the Hall of Fame.

“I’m a squatter when I run the ball and another guy who was a squatter was Barry Sanders,” Robinson said, understanding that you have to feel defenders and read their shoulders and angles to try, so many break duels as possible. … I’m proud of that.

“…I try to dissect it, try to create open holes, create pathways for myself, no matter what it is, eight in the box, nine in the box, seven in the box, I just always try to find ways .”

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