Did the Atlanta Falcons reach in round 1 of the 2023 NFL draft?

2023 NFL Draft - Round 1
2023 NFL Draft - Round 1 / David Eulitt/GettyImages

While the complete answer to this question will be determined years in the future the short term is obvious. Yes, the Atlanta Falcons reached taking a running back in the first round despite the clear fit and excitement it adds to the 2023 season.

Two things can be true, the pick can be a reach and it could be the perfect fit for the Atlanta Falcons. Robinson is a dynamic talent that clearly fits typical Terry Fontenot draft targets with Kyle Pitts and Drake London as the other first-round selections under the Atlanta GM.

While the pick was a bit of a reach it is fair to assume Bijan would have been off the board quickly landing either with Philly or Detroit if Atlanta didn't select the rookie 8th overall.

Reaching for a player is often defined by different perspectives and positional values that Atlanta clearly isn't focused on. Atlanta is going to take the player at the top of their board and who they believe will have the most impact regardless of the position.

Because of Robinson's position looking at this decision as a reach is completely reasonable while also pointing out the clear short-term value of having Kyle Pitts, Drake London, Tyler Allgeier, Desmond Ridder, and Robinson all on rookie deals. Fontenot has built the perfect offense for Arthur Smith's system and that is the reason this pick was the right one for Atlanta despite it being a bit of a reach.

Christian Gonzalez, Jalen Carter, and Luke Van Ness would all have been safer selections that wouldn't be viewed as a reach. However, none of the three players fit as clearly as Bijan Robinson who will join what was already one of the best rushing attacks in the league. Reaching for Bijan was a surprise but for Atlanta, it was the correct move for a team that needed to make another impact addition offensively.