The New York Giants are currently in a tense contract situation with superstar running back Saquon Barkley. New York placed the franchise tag on Barkley this offseason, which he still has not signed. The Giants’ decision to tag Barkley reportedly upset him, demonstrated by his refusal to sign the tender and attend voluntary workouts with the team.
General manager Joe Schoen recently explained that he is now focused on the draft and has not spoken to Barkley in several weeks. With no clear resolution in sight, could the Giants consider drafting Bijan Robinson, the top running back in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft?
Should the Giants consider drafting Bijan Robinson?
Some analysts believe that Texas RB Bijan Robinson is the best prospect in this year’s draft class. Robinson has been described as a “generational” talent following a 2022 season in which he totaled 1,580 rushing yards, 18 rushing touchdowns, 314 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns.
Robinson “has a chance to become one of the more productive runners in the league very quickly,” according to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein.
Robinson has the potential to be one of the rare running backs that can single-handedly carry a team to wins.Keith Sanchez of The Draft Network
Despite his “generational” label, Robinson is not a lock to go early in the first round. The devalued running back position rarely gets selected in the top ten. As a running back, there’s a chance Robinson slides down the draft board and right into New York’s lap with the 25th overall pick.
If Robinson is on the board at 25 overall, the Giants may want to consider selecting the elite rushing prospect and moving on from Saquon Barkley. A draft-day trade could play out, sending Barkley on his way and welcoming in Robinson.
Barkley is an extraordinary talent and arguably the best player on the Giants. Yet, teams are struggling to justify paying a running back in excess of $10 million per season at this point. Barkley is reportedly asking for much more than $10 million annually.
Drafting Bijan Robinson would give the Giants a younger, cheaper option at the running back position. Robinson has the potential to be a game-changing talent at the next level. However, recent history suggests that drafting a running back in the first round might not be the best strategy.
Many of the top teams in the NFL rely on mid-round draft picks for the running back position. If the Giants are to move on from Barkley, they still might not be keen on replacing him with a first-round draft pick. New York has more pressing needs on their roster. Drafting a running back in the first round would be a luxury pick that the Giants simply should not be making at this point.