Despite the fact they have more glaring needs and the NFL’s increasing reluctance to commit valuable assets to the position, the New England Patriots continue to be linked to star running back Bijan Robinson with less than a week before the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported earlier this month the Patriots are “absolutely intrigued” by Robinson and New England also was the team to select Robinson in one draft expert’s mock exercise. Now, well-connected Patriots reporter Mike Reiss raised the question many New England fans probably are wondering: Could New England actually draft Robinson if he’s available at No. 14 overall?
“When it comes to intriguing draft storylines, where Texas running back Bijan Robinson is picked is among them,” Reiss wrote in his Sunday notes column for ESPN. “Robinson is widely viewed as one of the more talented players (ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay rates him No. 2) but is expected to be picked later because running backs are generally devalued these days. Thus, here’s a question that could become a factor inside the Patriots’ draft room: If Robinson slides to No. 14, would it be a worthy pick given the limited blue-chip options available?”
Reiss also wrote how the Patriots could be in “no-man’s-land” where they currently stand given how there are fewer “blue-chip” players in this year’s draft than other drafts, making his (perhaps informed?) question about Robinson all the more notable.
NFL Media’s draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah hypothesized the Patriots would select Robinson. Jeremiah expressed how Robinson and Rhamondre Stevenson would make for one of the league’s best backfield tandems and how no organization thinks like the Patriots, meaning New England might be more inclined to draft a non-premium position than other franchises.
Robinson’s projected draft position on FanDuel Sportsbook currently is over/under 13.5 while the Patriots are 18-1 to draft the Texas product — some enticing bets with value. New England also is 20-1 to draft any running back with its first pick.
The NFL draft begins Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. Reiss expects the Patriots — should they keep the No. 14 overall pick — will be on the clock around 9:45 p.m. ET.