Monday, October 2 2023

Football teams generally need to run the ball to be successful. Yet NFL franchises are reluctant to spend high draft picks on running backs as they have limited mileage before the tread wears down, and a replacement is needed. 

Will some bettors cash in if a running back is a surprise early pick at the NFL Draft on April 27?

Teams prefer to spend draft capital on other positions and stock the running back room with lower picks or players acquired via trade or free agency. Hall of Famer Joe Perry – the first NFL running back to post consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons – and 2002 NFL Offensive Player of the Year Priest Holmes were star running backs who went undrafted.

Which brings us to Texas unanimous All-American, Bijan Robinson, the consensus top running back in this year’s draft class. The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Robinson ran for 1,580 yards (sixth in the country, 6.1 per carry) and 18 touchdowns last season.

[RELATED: Joel Klatt’s mock draft]

Yet the consensus among mock drafts is Robinson will get drafted late in the first round or later. The FOX Sports mock draft has Robinson going to the Buffalo Bills with the No. 27 pick.

Top 10 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft

Joel Klatt’s mock draft has Texas running back Bijan Robinson going to the Philadelphia Eagles with the 10th pick.

Most betting sites only list draft odds for the expected top picks, so there are no published odds available on Robinson’s expected draft slot.


FOX Bet Trading Operations Associate Matthew Griffe said if he were to set a projected draft line for Robinson, he’d go with a hypothetical Over/Under of the 25.5 pick. Griffe said Robinson is “one of the few blue chip talents in this year’s NFL Draft. 

“The issue, of course, is that he plays a position with low relative value and NFL teams look to spend their draft capital on premium positions,” Griffe added. “Bijan can take an already potent offense and add a home-run hitter that possesses both speed and power.”

The last running back to be the top pick? Penn State’s Ki-Jana Carter by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1995. Carter is a cautionary tale on why teams don’t take running backs with high picks – he tore a knee ligament on the third carry of his first preseason game. He missed the entire 1995 season and finished his career with 1,144 rushing yards in 59 games.

If you’re looking to get in on the NFL Draft action or wager on another sport, head on over to FOX Bet!

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Source: FOX Sports


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